When Ryder Kilam’s family reached out to the community of Westerly, Rhode Island, for help, they never imagined the kind of response they’d receive — especially from high schoolers.
Five-year-old Ryder uses a wheelchair and must wait for the school bus at the end of his drive way every morning. His dad set up an old patio umbrella to help protect him from the elements, but it was no longer working. That’s when the family decided to ask around for a better one. And when the Construction Technology class at Westerly High School in Rhode Island found out about Ryder’s need, they didn’t hesitate.
“I think my first email was, absolutely we’re in,” Dan McKena, who’s been teaching the construction class for 27 years, told WJAR. “… 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.”
The class used their skills to build a bus hut for Ryder. It only took a few weeks — they worked quickly, as they didn’t want Ryder sitting under an umbrella during the winter months.
Others in the community supported the project. In addition to the materials the Kilam family purchased, Home Depot kicked in $300 for wood, and a former student at the high school transported the hut to the Kilams’ property.