Teacher Launches Plan To Ensure Disabled Student Can Take Part In Two Day Hiking Trip

As a special ed teacher and director of student services at the Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago, Helma Wardenaar regularly goes above and beyond to help her students.

Every year, Helma takes her class on a two-day camping trip during which time they hike and explore nature. For one of her students named Maggie, however, this trip seemed impossible.

Maggie suffers from erebral palsy and relies on a walker or wheelchair, so there did not seem like there would be any way that she would be able to keep up with her class. Helma, who has worked with Maggie since she was in kindergarten, was determined that the young girl would not be excluded, so she came up with a plan.

Helma first called Greg Coleman, an employee at her local REI store, and he had trouble finding a travel carrier or sling that could hold Maggie’s weight at first. Helma then tried to borrow a friend’s pony, but the forest preserve said it was against the rules. The teacher even tried to see if a wheelbarrow would work to carry Maggie around, but it wasn’t sturdy enough.

Finally, days before the camping trip was to begin, Helma eceived an email from Greg at REI.

“I couldn’t let go of that idea,” he told her. “I really want to help you out.”

Find out what the two of them came up with in the video below, and SHARE this story so your friends and family can see this as well!

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