Gnash’s Clubhouse Offers Children a Chance to Learn and Play

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 4:51 PM
Alexis Witman  - Nashville Predators

In January, High Hopes Inc., a non-profit inclusive preschool and pediatric therapy clinic located in Franklin, moved into their new facility that houses both the school and clinic. In addition to housing eight classrooms, multi-purpose gathering spaces and therapy rooms, the new High Hopes building is home to Gnash’s Clubhouse, the center of one of two activity pods, which was built through money provided by one of the Nashville Predators Foundation’s 2013 grants.

“As we knew we were going to be moving into our own building, we wanted the Predators, who had been so good to High Hopes, and to our children, to be involved,” High Hopes Executive Director Gail Powell said.

With its fun and colorful outside, Gnash’s Clubhouse looks like any play house you would find at a child’s school, but this clubhouse is a bit different. Every aspect was specifically built with a purpose behind it, creating a fun atmosphere for children as they complete therapy at High Hopes.

According to Powell, the idea for the clubhouse originally came from something that staff members had seen online, but the High Hopes staff was able to find a builder who could customize the house to fit every one of their needs.

“It has everything we need to make therapy fun and enjoyable for these children,” Powell said. “It’s customized not only to our children, but it even has the game-used hockey sticks from the Predators. It’s unbelievable.”

Gnash’s Clubhouse has many different aspects that the High Hopes staff use when working with children in physical, occupational, speech, feeding and listening therapy. Examples include the stairs to the slide, used to help children learn to navigate stairs in their everyday lives and the colorful balls in the ball pits that children match to colorful tubes to strengthen cognitive skills.

“These kids come and they have challenges every day,” High Hopes Director of Clinical Services Kristin Garner said. “This [therapy] is hard work for them, but any time we can make it fun, and disguise the hard work, it just means the world to us as therapists and also to the families.”

Gnash was on hand for his clubhouse’s grand opening, “christening” it with a slide through a hand painted banner, playing in the ball pit and offering high fives and hugs to all of the children in attendance.

“Obviously, it’s a huge hit,” Rich May, who sits on High Hopes Board of Directors, said. “These kids are doing therapy right now and they don’t even know it, they just think they’re having fun. It’s been a great process and we’re very grateful to the Predators for what they’re helping us do here.”

On Wednesday, May 7, in a 3 p.m. ceremony, the Predators Foundation will distribute $410,652 – the largest donation in the Foundation’s history – to the 117 charities chosen to receive a 2014 Nashville Predators Foundation grant.

Established in September 1998, the Predators Foundation strives to meet the educational, social, health and cultural needs of the community by offering unique resources and financial support to local youth-oriented organizations. All 501(c)3 organizations in Middle Tennessee are eligible to receive grants, which are distributed once a year. For more information on the Nashville Predators Foundation grants, visit www.nashvillepredators.com/foundation.

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