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Starla Hilliard Barnes

By taking a first glance into Starla's life you would never know that she is a T4 paraplegic. You constantly see pictures of her boating, skiing, kayaking, horseback riding, zip-lining ect... The list could go on for ever but that's not why I am here. Starla grew up as a very active child. She played almost every sport you can think of and on top of that add cheer-leading, dance and gymnastics while keeping a high G.P.A. Her family spent the summers on the lake wake-boarding, knee boarding, and skiing ect. and if they weren't at their families lake house. Then they were camping, dirt biking, fishing, hunting or traveling. Her parents tried giving them a diverse lifestyle. Teaching them to try everything and to give everyone they meet an opportunity. Almost everyone that I came in contact with about Starla would tell you that she is the most selfless, loyal and loving person. 

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Playground Project

Our mission is to build truly inclusive playgrounds in the Flathead, where adults and children can play together in a fun welcoming environment. No matter if able bodied or differently able, all will be included.

In all of the playgrounds in the Flathead Valley, not a single one of them is handicap accessible. Leaving many of our community members struggling to use the parks and playgrounds we currently have. This is something we don't realize, until it effects us directly. Now that is is noticed, it is something that needs to change and will change. We must create a barrier free playgrounds that meets the needs of everyone in the Valley. This playground would be inclusive to everyone. You see a playground isn't just for children. It is a place where parents and grandparents can have fun with their children. As an adult with a disability, often times I am left on the sidelines watching my child play. I know I am not the only one! Visiting S.O.A.R. playground in Ohio, was the most emotional experience since my daughters birth. I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to play face to face with my daughter on a jungle gym. My husband and I vowed from this moment that we would do everything in our power to come back to the Flathead and make just that happen!

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