City of Concord California

News Release

July 3, 2017

Visitor from Iceland honors all-abilities playground on 10th birthday

Ten years ago, the City of Concord partnered with the Concord Lions Club to build one of the first playgrounds in the Bay Area for children of all abilities. A celebration marking the anniversary will be held on Friday, July 14 at the Matteo's Dream playground in Hillcrest Park, Olivera Road and Grant Street, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As part of the celebration, Lions International Vice President Gudrun Yngvadottir of Iceland will be a special guest. She is honoring the Bay Area Lions Clubs and the City of Concord for their collaboration in building the most accessible playground for its time in 2007. The concept of Lions Clubs partnering with cities to build accessible playgrounds in the Bay Area has been the catalyst for many Lions-built accessible playgrounds throughout the world.

Concord resident and Lions Club member Liz Lamach was instrumental in bringing together the City and the Lions Club to design and build the playground for her son, Matteo, and others like him. Matteo used a wheelchair and was blind, making it difficult for him to enjoy traditional playgrounds. Through a highly collaborative effort, over 1,500 community volunteers built Matteo's Dream in eight days and it has been used by thousands of children of all abilities since it opened. Sadly, Matteo passed away in 2011.

Liz Lamach has been continuously amazed at the impact her vision of "play for all" has generated beyond the Concord community. "This playground has generated interest throughout the world, has changed the way playgrounds look and feel. It's very rare to find sand and bark under play structures anymore. To be honored by the first female to soon become president of our international Lions organization is recognition at the highest level I can imagine."

Members of the Concord Lions Club are excited for the opportunity meet the vice president of the largest service organization in the world.

"This is the tenth anniversary of the building of Matteo's Dream, the 30th anniversary of women in Lions and the 100th anniversary of Lions Club International. We have much to celebrate!" says Lamach.

Gudrun Yngvadottir is visiting from Gardabaer, Iceland where she also serves as vice director of the Institute of Continuing Education at the University of Iceland. Lion Gudrun has served in many positions within the Lions organization and has been a member since 1992. She has received many Lions accommodations including the highest honor bestowed by the association, the Ambassador of Good Will Award.

Editor's note: Vice President Yngvadottir will be available from noon to 1 p.m. for interviews at the event on July 14.

City of Concord CA