A group of teenagers built a shelter for a five-year-old kid in a wheelchair after learning that he had gotten wet while waiting for the school bus in the winter.
Ryder Killam has endured weather conditions such as rain, wind, and snow for the past three years while only employing a patio umbrella as protection.
However, after hearing about his predicament, local students in Bradford, Rhode Island, got to work and built his bus shelter for the bottom of his driveway during their construction courses.
Tim, Ryder’s 39-year-old father, said, “Ryder uses it every day before school, and his nurses stay inside it every day while they wait for him to return home.” He occasionally likes to go hang out in it as his fort.
Ryder was born with spina bifida myelomeningocele, which has prevented him from ever being able to walk. It took him until he was two years old before he began using a wheelchair. Ryder’s parents, Tim and Nikea, both 39, had to push him 75 feet to the end of the road when he first started attending the inclusionary preschool Dunn’s Corner Elementary in June 2019.
Ryder could not regularly compete with his pals for this bus due to his illness. He would have to wait outside in any weather for up to 15 minutes to catch the bus.
When Ryder started kindergarten in September 2021, Tim wanted to erect a patio umbrella at the end of his driveway to provide shelter from the elements.
Tim said, “The issue is that with the wind and autumn weather here in New England, it didn’t accomplish anything unless it was just a rainy day without any wind; otherwise, he would still get wet and not be warm.”
To find a solution for his son, Tim decided to walk into his neighborhood to check if anyone had anything that would protect Ryder from the weather.
Tim, who runs a maritime electronics company, said: “I posted on Facebook asking if any of my friends or their contacts might have an old bus hut.” I see it on many peoples’ properties and concluded that perhaps someone had one but had grown children who no longer needed it.
A WPS member instructed Tim to get in touch with Westerly High’s construction class after seeing the advertisement and ask them if they would be interested in helping build Ryder a bus stop hut.
Dan McKena, who had been teaching construction technology at Westerly High School for the previous 27 years, was the next person Tim emailed to see if he would be interested in taking on this kind of project.
He said, “He responded positively and worked with his students to design and build the hut.
Inspired by the cause and the impending snowfall, three of McKenna’s students toiled assiduously on the project for several weeks, picking up new skills on YouTube as they constructed the building.
The project’s timber came from Home Depot for about $300, but the Killams paid $600 for the remaining materials and provided them with pictures along the way.
At 58 feet, the hut was made to comfort Ryder and one of his parents or a caretaker. The hut was delivered to Ryder’s house on November 2, six weeks after the project’s building phase had started.
Tim said, “We were astonished because it was bigger than we thought and allowed Ryder and an adult to be with him comfortably. “Ryder adores it and wants to have it nearby constantly.”
The family thanked them for their efforts and posted a picture of Ryder at the bus stop.
“Our project showed that there is still so much good in this world and community, and it helped to bring our neighborhood together a little bit.” Tim declared.
Tim said, “We can sit outside in the hut and keep out of the rain because the bus doors are 75+ feet apart.” It has made things a lot easier because it takes some effort to get from the residence to the bus, and it takes time for the ramp to drop out of the bus and put him on.
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