Ryder Kilam is a five-year-old boy who uses a wheelchair. Although his family absolutely adores him, the world beyond the safety of his family’s home can be harsh and unforgiving. People are not very accommodating for Ryder, and because he has to use a wheelchair to get around, life can be quite challenging.
Every day when Ryder goes to school in Westerly, Rhode Island, he has to wait outside in his wheelchair for the school bus. Getting on and off the bus is a huge ordeal that his parents help Ryder struggle through every single day. Because they have no other way to get Ryder to and from school, they rely on the school bus even though it is extremely inconvenient.
Ryder’s home includes a driveway that is about seventy-five feet long. It’s also on an incline, which means that Ryder cannot rush when leaving home to go wait outside for the school bus to Dunn’s Corners Elementary School. Instead, Ryder has to be out bright and early to make sure he doesn’t miss his ride to school.
Rain or snow, Ryder has to be outside waiting for the bus. There’s just no other way for him to catch the bus, and it has been a struggle for Ryder and his family to deal with the harsh weather in his hometown.
Ryder’s parents knew that a better solution was out there, so they posted a cry for help on Facebook and shared it with everyone in their local community.
“So we decided to reach out to the community, we actually put a post on Facebook looking for friends that maybe new somebody that had one that they were no longer using,” his parents told WJAR10.
When the Construction Technology class at the nearby Westerly High School noticed the call for help, they shared it with their large following and got people interested in helping.
Dan McKena, the teacher of the class, knew that it was a great opportunity for his students to put their skills to use while helping a small boy who struggled to catch the school bus.
“I think my first email was, absolutely we’re in,” said McKena. “We’ve done other projects before. I think it’s very important for my students to learn not only the aspects of construction but of being involved in the community dealing with people outside of the school environment.”
McKena and his students used $300 in materials from Home Depot to build Ryder a “bus hut.” Now when he waits outside for the school bus, he has a shelter to keep him safe from the elements. As a bonus, the bus hut was ADA accessible, which meant that Ryder would easily be able to put it to use.
“He loves it. He actually after school makes us stay out here and hang out now it’s his new fort, so he gets home,” said Kilam.
What do you think about this boy’s bus hut?
Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.