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Bennett Park

Spina bifida is no longer benching Bennett.

We created an amazing space that allows him to develop his body, mind and spirit so his life can be a home run.

This room will provide the needed respite along with family and friends time for Bennett, who has spina bifida. Check out what our passionate volunteers pulled together for this fan of baseball, nerf guns, and more! 

Screenshot 2023-09-30 at 8.23.10 AM

Meet Bennett

Bennett, age 10, is challenged with muscle control and lack of physical strength as a result of his spina bifida. Although he is diligent with his therapy, as he ages, he will find it more challenging to maintain muscle tone.

Design Challenges

Bennett Park is created to be a flexible space to maintain his motivation for exercise as well as provide for an area to enhance friendships.

In addition to the support of PT protocol, the space is also intended to support his academic needs associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). An oversized whiteboard will help identify daily tasks, focus his attention, and is a means to limit frustration and short-circuiting.


Bennett has multiple upcoming surgeries that will require him to relearn some basic functions, and this Joy Room will provide multiple levels of challenge as he recovers and rebuilds his confidence and strength.

“This room will give Bennett a fun, safe, inviting place to play, grow, and learn.” 

—Megan Welty, Manager, Sports & Recreation Department, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health


Unique elements include:

  • Rounded edges to prevent bumps & scrapes

  • Tiered bleacher that functions as possible future wheelchair transform platform

  • Custom Minnesota Twins bat railing adds pop of “wow” 

  • Custom storage includes areas for prize sports memorabilia display and artwork

  • Special play space including a dress-up closet and play furniture for his sisters

  • Crafts area for artwork, playing games with grandparents, and hands-on learning experiments



I'm so proud to work with Joy Collaborative on the design of such a fantastic and meaningful project. The joy on the faces of Bennett and his family is always infectious, and they deserve this and all other good things in life.


Working with good friends Erica Steinkraus and Valerie Treimer to bring this space to life was as much fun as I've ever had on a team. Special thanks to Mark Ostrom for being our fearless captain and Bainey Group Construction Services for their tireless work, creativity, and incredibly generous hearts.


Thanks to Bennett's parents Julie and Jon for being the most enthusiastic, loving, and dedicated clients our team could have imagined.

—Hannah Braegelmann, designer

Thank you to our Design & Construction Team

  • Bainey Group Construction Services

  • Commercial Furniture Services, Inc.

  • Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute

  • D&G Welding

  • Design by Erica Steinkraus, Valerie Treimer, Hannah Braegelmann

  • FitHAUS

  • Cabinetry: Interscapes Architectural Woodwork

  • Interface, Inc.

  • JD Woodcraft

  • J. Myrland Workshop

  • Maharam

  • Midwest Blinds

  • Minnesota Glass

  • Minnesota Twins

  • Moketta

  • Shawn McCann, Muralist

  • Slumberland

  • Sonus interiors

  • South Central Educational Cooperative

  • Tarkett

  • T.F. Striker


About Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don't form properly. It's a type of neural tube defect. The neural tube is the structure in a developing embryo that eventually becomes the baby's brain, spinal cord and the tissues that enclose them.

Normally, the neural tube forms early in pregnancy and it closes by the 28th day after conception. In babies with spina bifida, a portion of the neural tube doesn't close or develop properly, causing defects in the spinal cord and in the bones of the spine.
Spina bifida can range from mild to severe, depending on the type of defect, size, location and complications. When necessary, early treatment for spina bifida involves surgery — although such treatment doesn't always completely resolve the problem.

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