Ramp-a-Thon 2015

Imagine this with us:  You, by either unfortunate circumstance or by age, have suddenly (or progressively) become limited in mobility.  You’re either bound to a wheelchair or dependent on some sort of medical aid, like a walker or a cane, to get around.  Moving about quickly becomes impossible and moving about safely becomes challenging.  Everyday tasks, like checking your mail and going to the grocery store to grab dinner ingredients, are perhaps the most taxing parts of your day.  Imagine walking out your front door and envisioning your 5 front steps as a mountain to descend.  With every step, you are unsteady, clinging to the rusty rail for dear life, and in excruciating pain.  This scenario may seem extreme to some, but it is reality for many of the homeowners that CHS services.  This scenario, also known as real life for many people, is exactly why we started the Ramp-a-Thon.

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Volunteers and CHS staff pose with a homeowner while building her ramp

Mrs. Barbara is a Guilford County resident.  Before a ramp was built in her front yard during Ramp-a-Thon 2015, Mrs. Barbara hadn’t left her home in over nine months.  In many ways, her home – the place that was designed for refuge and rest – had become a prison of epic proportions.  These are the stories of the real life people that we are honored to be able to help here at CHS.  We believe in improving safety conditions, but also in improving quality of life.  For Mrs. Barbara, a ramp means freedom, it means accessibility, it means hope, and it means joy.  Her ramp is more than wooden posts and decking boards.  Her ramp is life.

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Some of the ramp crew at Mrs. Barbara’s home

Each year, CHS identifies between 8 and 15 homeowners who are in need of an accessibility modification in the form of a ramp on their home.  Then, we partner with 50-100 young adult volunteers from Catholic HEART Workcamp to accomplish the lofty goal of building all of the ramps over a 4-day time span.  This year, we had 57 CHWC volunteers working on nine ramps and, for the first time, EVER, all nine ramps were completely finished in the 4-day time span.  This is a fact worthy of celebration!  We cannot thank our volunteers, both from CHWC and otherwise, for their hard work and flexibility.  We are always in awe of this event, and this year was absolutely no exception.

The following photos show all of the finished ramps (or very close-to-finished ramps) with their volunteer builders:

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(Photos and story by Laura Berkstresser, Community Engagement Coordinator.  Please direct questions and comments to lberkstresser@chshousing.org)