Playgrounds and the Color Purple


Galila Ibrahim, Senior.

Sasha Zvaners, Reporter

Ever heard of a sensory playground? 

If you haven’t, don’t worry – senior Galila Ibrahim would be more than happy to explain. 

Ibrahim, a member of UHS’s National Art Honor Society, has organized volunteers to help create a sensory playground at Centerville Elementary, one of Urbana High’s feeder schools. 

“It’s like an interactive painting,” she explains. “Some children with learning disabilities may have difficulty communicating – this ‘playground’ gives students the space to show how they’re feeling.” 

When asked what inspired her to take on this project, she reflected on the past. Her brother has a learning disability, and watching the challenges he had with communication drove her to do something for students like him. 

“This ‘playground’ also lacks the sensory overload often found in a typical playground,” Ibrahim said, “Which can be overwhelming for some kids.” As such, the sensory playground is a viable alternative to the traditional recess. Volunteers are always welcomed, and the project will run through November. In Ibrahim’s words, “if you can hold a paintbrush, you’re all set!” 

Of course, Galila is also involved in her community in other ways. When she’s not painting 40×100 foot murals, she’s volunteering at Urbana’s senior center and binge-reading books. Her latest read? The Color Purple.

Where the future is concerned, Galila plans on attending college and pursuing a degree in international affairs. It’s her dream to become an immigration lawyer, and she looks forward to pursuing her goals. 

For now, though, you can find her behind Centerville Elementary — paintbrush in hand, and playground before her. 

Interested in helping to paint the playground? Visit Volunteer hours will be provided!