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For Stratford, a Playground in Memory of Victoria Soto

The playground is one of many from an organization dedicated to remembering the victims of the Dec. 14 shooting.

Victoria Soto taught first-grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Victoria Soto taught first-grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Written by Davis Dunavin

Updated Thursday

With rain in the forecast for today and tomorrow, the playground build has been postponed to Saturday. Same time, 8:30 a.m., at Penders Field.

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Our original story follows.

Victoria Soto will never be forgotten in Stratford.

Soto, whose life was cut short in the Dec. 14 shooting, taught at Sandy Hook Elementary School but called the town on the Housatonic River home.

Her name will grace the town's newest elementary school, and the town's North Parade Street, which runs in front of the high school, will be renamed after her.

And this weekend, her name will also become synonymous with a place for Stratford's children to play. An organization called the Sandy Ground Project will debut Victoria Soto's memorial playground at Stratford's Penders Field at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 14, the six-month anniversary of Soto's passing.

It's thanks to the efforts of the Sandy Ground Project, an effort to build 26 playgrounds for the victims of the shooting. The cause grew out of work done by the New Jersey State Firefighters' Mutual Benefit Association after Hurricane Sandy

They aren't limited to Stratford -- the organization has debuted playgrounds in Connecticut and New Jersey for Dylan Hockley, Anne Marie Murphy, Jack Pinto and Catherine Hubbard, and plan to do so for other victims in the future. (Click here to see the full list of playgrounds.)

"Twenty-six playgrounds all along the coast of three states built by firefighters, police officers, teachers and support staff and volunteers in an attempt to connect two tragedies that eerily share the same name in a way that people can never forget."

That's how the organization describes its cause on their website, adding that projects are only done with cooperation from victims' families.

They've had support in Stratford. Nancy Ann Marci, who operates a Lia Sophia jewelry business, is one helper.

"I am donating 100 percent of my profits to the organization," Marci told Stratford Patch.

Her fundraiser continues until the launch of the playground on June 14. To find out more about Marci's fundraiser, visit her Facebook page, where she provides regular updates and words of encouragement. (Her most recent post: "Please SHARE this Fundrai$ing Event ♥ just 4 more days!")

Want to go?
Where: Penders Field, Stratford, Conn.
When: 8:30 a.m., Friday, June 14
Nancy Ann Macri June 12, 2013 at 06:52 AM
Thank you for spreading the word about The Sandy Ground Project Organization! May the 26 souls live in our hearts forever and help us to bring happiness and joy to future children of the world.
Amy Doherty Wiltsie June 12, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Please also remember PENNIES TO PLAY. a fundraising collection from children, for children. Bring your coin donation to any Stratford school before 6/13 or contact aewiltsie@optonline.net for drop off information.

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