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In 2007, my friends, Ronnie and Joe Biondo, began to launch their vision to create an all-accessible premier playground in Matamoras, Pennsylvania: a playground where all kids can play, share and learn in a joyful environment regardless of a child’s abilities or disabilities. By having children interact with others from all walks of life, this wonderful park would provide an early opportunity for children to learn the skills of inclusion, self-determination and, most importantly, respect for others throughout life.

In naming the playground, Ronnie was inspired by the song, "Fireflies and Shooting Stars," written by composer and music director, Michael Rice. The park was thoughtfully designed by Scott Eck of Continuity Design, and in 2008 ground was broken for "Firefly Field – A Playground for All Kids." In keeping with this inspirational effort, and with Ronnie’s encouragement, I wrote the story about Enzo, a little firefly who was born without a taillight. In seeking Enzo’s own inclusion and success, the story tells of his self-determined, fantastical journey and adventures to find his light – a tale of hope, acceptance and understanding. In contrast to the thought that we are all the same or should be, Enzo’s journey leads us to the truth that no one is exactly the same, and we discover the importance of accepting the differences in ourselves and others. By realizing this simple truth, it could be possible to find a way toward goodwill, respect and much happiness for all.

Funded mostly by the Biondo Memorial Foundation and private donations, "Firefly Field" was opened to the public on July 25, 2009. Selected parts of the story and songs were performed before the several hundred people in attendance. In addition, several large panels with some of the illustrations were installed in the playground. The generous and overwhelmingly positive response to the park and performance gave us clear indication to move forward with this artistic endeavor to publish our story, art and music.

It is my greatest wish that the message of truth and hope from "Fireflies and Shooting Stars – The Tale of Enzo" will spread far and wide to help support and promote projects such as "Firefly Field" for many generations. To find out how you can help support the Biondo Memorial Foundation and other caring organizations dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children, please visit our website: www.firefliesandshootingstars.com

– Ed Raarup, August 2012