Caitlin Hibbeler '15
Senior from Old Monroe, Mo.
Health and wellness major, sport psychology minor
- Wonders of Wellness President
- Colleges Against Cancer President
- Resident Assistant
- Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges
- President’s and Dean’s Lists
- Summer internships in 2013 and 2014 with Unlimited Play Playgrounds in St. Peters, Mo.
Caitlin Hibbeler '15 has interned her way into a dream job with Unlimited Play Playgrounds, a non-profit organization that builds accessible outdoor areas “where limitations are forgotten and differences celebrated,” its slogan says.
“My dream goal was to build an all-inclusive rec center for children and adults with and without disabilities. Unlimited Play took me in with open arms,” she says.
Caitlin visits communities to raise funds, gain support and build relationships. “I like to be a part of something exciting coming into town. I get to hear the stories about families and individuals the company has impacted,” she says. “I have also conducted surveys to see what people think about our playgrounds - how far they travel, for example. We learned that people will travel 100 miles to get to an Unlimited Play Playground.”
The ribbon cutting of a new playground stirs “a whirlwind of emotions,” she says. “The emotions of parents who were never able to take their child to a playground before. The utter excitement of children almost trampling each other to get through the fence. The stories people tell that melt your heart.”
She also helps plan events such as the organization’s gala, Superhero Dash 5K, community build days, groundbreakings and new playground openings.
Caitlin has gained of plenty of event planning experience as a member of McKendree University’s Wonders of Wellness organization. Under her leadership this semester, W.O.W. plans to reestablish walking trails, expand the campus garden system, host a Rainbow Run, and continue the food co-op and perhaps another sustainable lunch fundraiser.
“W.O.W. really caters to the campus and what’s going on. So if we see a lot of interest in sand volleyball, you bet we will host a sand volleyball tournament,” she says. “We host at least one event per month and we are always open to new ideas.”
After she completes her health and wellness degree in December, Caitlin will join the Unlimited Play staff full time. “I am so thankful that I am able to continue with my passion and stay at a place I love.”
“I feel so honored to be a part of something way bigger than myself. When you personally know the children and families that are behind the playgrounds, they aren’t just playgrounds anymore. They become a part of you.”