A story caught my eye this past week, one that touched my heart. You all know that I taught high school for 37 years, and I loved kids. Throughout my years in the classroom, I witnessed hundreds of random acts of kindness from students, and this story is just as special as the ones I saw personally.
Ryder Kilam is a 5 year old little boy who is wheelchair-bound because of spina bifida. It is about 75 feet for him to leave his house and get out to the curb to catch the bus, which takes him more than a few minutes. In order to keep the bus on schedule, he waits on the sidewalk, protected from rainy elements by a large patio umbrella. That umbrella worked fine in the early Fall, but his father recognized that it would not be a viable solution for the long winter in Rhode Island.
Ryder's dad put out a Facebook post asking if anyone had a shelter that they were no longer using. That post was emailed to a young man in teacher Dan McKena's Construction Class at nearby Westerly High School. Dan is a 27 year veteran teacher who encourages projects that help the community, so when the request was brought to his attention, he and his class were in. They would build a bus shelter for young Ryder.
For a few weeks, three classes worked together on the project, and then a senior stepped up to claim the bus shelter as his senior project. The group worked closely with Rider's family, and they made the shelter ADA compliant. Home Depot donated some materials, and everyone worked together, guided by their teacher. A graduate of the high school, who had also been in Mr. McKena's Construction Class, made the delivery. To make this beautiful story run full circle, one of Ryder's older brothers is a student in the Construction Class, and he helped to complete the project for his little brother.
Ryder has not yet met all the young men and the teacher who fulfilled his need for a bus shelter, but he will soon.
This story personifies what is best in America and best in humanity. Someone has a real need, and others step up to help. Both parties feel gratified that they have done something for other. Ryder gave the classes a purpose, and they gave Ryder a bus shelter.
To see some pictures and a video of Ryder, please click on the link below.
Such an uplifting story for the season of giving! "We rise by lifting others." Robert Ingersoll
Visit Dede's web page for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required reading. Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics.
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
Connect with Dede!