HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (DC News Now) — Talk about getting the wheels of government turning.
10-year-old Avery Van Vliet said at the age of nine, she wanted action out of town hall which got her wheels turning.
Van Vliet captured the attention of Mayor Gregory Vaughn when she saw things in the Children’s Park that needed attention.
“Kids in a wheelchair couldn’t go up the curb,” the young girl said. “The sidewalks were too narrow.”
That’s not all that Van Vliet did for the park.
“For Earth Day, we did a clean up to build a pavilion and we put a screen on the fences and just kind of cleaned up,” she said.
Her work and advocating for the park impressed Vaughn.
“For someone of that age to take such an interest in community service,” says Vaughn, “it knocked me back a few steps.”
Van Vliet’s mother is her partner in the fight for reform.
“Avery saw the need for a wheelchair ramp so that all kids can play there,” she said. “That was really her passion when we walked through and decided what needed to be improved.”
Pat Morse chairs Harpers Ferry’s Parks and Recreation Board and said making the playground compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act “was something we could not have done without Avery’s help.”
Since there is no minimum age requirement to serve on the board, Morse and the mayor appointed the young girl to the board, a role Van Vliet eagerly embraces.
“We are seeing some very positive results as a result of Avery’s initiatives,” the mayor said.
The Harpers Ferry Pumpkin Roll event on Saturday will highlight Van Vliet’s efforts to improve the Children’s Park. Money raised at the event will help fund projects to upgrade the playground.
The Pumpkin Roll will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, at 557 Washington St.
Registration is $5 for children and $10 for adults. Prizes will be awarded to those who get their pumpkins closest to their target.
For more information call (304) 535-2206, extension 4.