Rising Ground's Passage of Hope (POH) is coming together to gather funds to meet one of our stellar youth's need. Heler was one of our first Long Term Foster Care (LTFC) minors and has demonstrated outstanding character to continue to strive for his dreams. He's a 16 year old high school student, who dreams of attending college to study criminal justice and play Paralympic sports. Since arriving to the program, Heler maintains honor roll grades, continues to become fluid in English, and remains passionate about sports. As a survivor of a violent attack that left him permanently paraplegic at the age of 14, discovering adaptive sports empowered him to rediscover his athleticism, which he had considered completely lost with his inability to play soccer again.
Adaptive sports also taught him the importance of having a wheelchair that meets all his needs and maximizes his mobility. Having Heler in our care has been enlightening for all of us as staff and we've learned how transformative a properly equipped wheelchair can be for the lifestyle of a person of his condition. His self-advocacy made us aware of the fascinating range of wheelchair sports as well as wheelchair servicing. Unfortunately, wheelchairs with this sort of potential are not within the accessible price range of the general population of his condition, who often struggle to meet their living expenses specially with intersecting identities and their additional posing challenges.
Heler was transferred to our program with a specialized, gently-used wheelchair that aptly met all his needs, which was a generous donation that his prior program had received and was able to provide for him. It's been two years since and his chair is now becoming dilapidated. Wheelchairs require not only routine servicing but also more constant care depending on the level and extensity of daily use as well as the quality of the chair. Due to the agency's limited funds, we're not able to provide him with the appropriate, durable wheelchair he needs but rather one that only meets his minimum needs, which not only limits Heler tremendously but also triggers him emotionally as a reminder of the early stages of his paraplegic condition.
We believe that any donations we can raise will make a significant impact towards our purpose and that together we can grant Heler a wheelchair that will not only meet his physical needs but further aid him with the primary tool he needs to advance his athletic and character development.