Ballard Park is home to a number of benches commemorating loved ones who have passed away. Grace Matz, an eighth grader at East Ridge Middle School, noticed that there weren’t any memorials for Ridgefield children.

“A lot of the benches in town are for adults and grandparents,” she said.

“There isn’t anything for all the kids that have passed away in Ridgefield, so I thought that a swing for all of them would be nice.”

Having been Justin Cowen’s assigned “buddy” she brought him his homework and helped him stay up to date with his classes while he battled cancer — a fight that eventually took his life. Grace wanted her social studies service project to honor him and the rest of children who have passed on.

Her friend, Marina Harris, a Ridgefield High School graduate, has been helping her with contact information for families who have lost a child.

Harris has lost a few friends from RHS, according to Grace.

The East Ridge student has started a GoFundMe page and encourages every family who has lost a child and would like their names featured on the plaque to get in touch.

Visit Grace’s donation page here: https://www.gofundme.com/angels-wing

To contact Grace e-mail her mom Brandi Matz: ebgjmatz@gmail.com