Playground to be named in honor of slain Bennettsville girl, Iyana Lowery

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The Pee Dee Coalition plans to dedicate its new transitional shelter’s playground to Ella and Iyana Lowery.

After dealing with the loss of her daughter and granddaughter in a nine-day span, Delores Lowery says a playground is the perfect way to honor Iyana’s life, ended tragically after she was kidnapped and killed, according to the Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office.

Delores says Iyana loved to play with dolls, do hair, and spend time with her Grandmom. She adds that the playground dedication is just another way this tragedy is bringing the community together.

The Pee Dee Coalition partnered with the Lowery family to tear down the old playground and create a new expanded playground on Hickson Road in Wallace, in honor of Iyana.

“This is not us doing it for them,” Barbara Steadman, Pee Dee Coalition Director of Resource Development. “They are doing this with us. They want to be a part of this effort to create a tribute that is positive moving forward for their family.”

Steadman says while there is power in tragedy, there is also power in peace and playfulness.

“This playground will stand as a tribute to the love of a mother and a daughter and of play time,” describes Steadman. “We know that it will change lives and help other children grow up surrounded by love.”

The New Beginnings Transitional Shelter in Marlboro County is set to open June 1. It is as 18-month shelter for abused women and their children. Each room in the home is dedicated to family members and the play area will be called “Iyana’s Playground.”

Steadman says the goal is to have the new playground complete by October to celebrate Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“We’d like to bring this forward and use this as a moment to celebrate their lives and to do something positive for the region,” says Steadman.

The coalition encourages church groups or civic organizations to find unique ways to raise money for the playground. If you would like to donate, go to You can enter Iyana’s Playground in the donation line.

Donation checks can be sent to the Pee Dee Coalition in honor of Iyana to:

P.O. Box 1351
Florence, SC 29503

A GoFundMe page has also been set up for the family. Iyana Lowery will be laid to rest at the Saw Mill Baptist Church on Saturday.

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