Michalea (24) and Maria (24) were two of the PlayGarden’s first campers in 2006 when they were both 8 years old. Now, 16 years later, Michaela is a member of the PlayGarden staff as a program assistant. Michaela has a lot to share about her time at the PlayGarden. 

When we asked both Michaela and Maria if they remembered coming to the PlayGarden as kids,  Michaela replied “Yes!” I remember going to Olympia to get the garden house” Michaela is referring to the time when she and her sister went to the state legislature asking them to fund the Minnie Bergram Garden House. When asked by the legislature why the PlayGarden needed a building, Michalea replied, “Because all we have is stinky port-a-potties!” Her sister replied, “We need a building because we get wind storms at the PlayGarden and our canopies fly around.” Needless to say, they made everyone laugh and helped secure funding. 

For Michaela working at the PlayGarden is more about community than it is about a paycheck. When asked, how did you feel when you got your job at the PlayGarden, Michaela enthusiastically replied, “Happy! Happy! I was excited to get to come to the PlayGarden again!” Some of Michaela’s favorite things to do in her job are to organize tubs, wash dishes, and work together with the other staff.  She doesn’t like to fold towels. 

How does it feel to work at the PlayGarden with people with and without disabilities?

“It is interesting,  because I can see people how all different people work together.” According to Michaela, It is clear to see that everyone has an important part to play. 

Are there any moments at the PlayGarden or kids that you think are particularly cute?

“All of the kids!” 

Michalea says she definitely  wants to work other jobs in the future.  She is not sure what kid of work that will be just yet, for now it seems like Michaela is in the right job. 

Maria and Mocha Michaela and Millie 


What do you want the world to know about you? 

“I have a service dog named Millie. Millie can push elevator buttons and door buttons, pick up and carry small items. I also have a twin sister, Maria.” Maria has a service dog named Mocha. Mocha is still a puppy so has a lot to learn about being a service dog. 

To learn more about Micaela  and her experience at the PlayGarden come visit her at the PlayGarden during one of her shifts.