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October 29, 2013

READERS' FORUM: Oct. 30, 2013

Moving mountains at WILL Center

The Wabash Valley Community Foundation provides invaluable support to local organizations that provide human services, arts and community development and educational programming. Last week, the foundation provided a generous grant to The WILL Center to support its “Ramps for Freedom” program — an ongoing project to provide people with disabilities the most basic of all community access devices, a way to get into and out of their dwelling.

This program has built more than 50 wheelchair ramps in the Wabash Valley since it started in 2012. This grant will provide materials that will build at least a dozen more.

Though The WILL Center has its name on the grant, none of it could be done without the generous support of other members of our community, and it’s only right that we thank all of them as we continue to build these ramps to enhance individual freedom and community participation.

The WILL Center’s partnership with Servants at Work, Inc. (SAWs) is the cornerstone. Founded as a ministry of the Second Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis and now an independent not-for-profit organization that reaches into all corners of the state, SAWs provides an ingenious system to design and construct ADA compliant ramps built to fit homes that were not intended to accommodate them. SAWs also provide a network of volunteer carpenters to accomplish the work, and skilled team leaders who can supervise individual builds.

We are always on the lookout, by the way, for people who would like to volunteer to help build ramps, and who can train to become team leaders. Most of the ramps can be built in a day. Having qualified team leaders makes the work quick and easy. SAWs design requires no post-hole digging or concrete. They are built entirely above ground and, because they are built with deck screws and bolts, are removable from the property if necessary, with some of the parts reusable. Consider joining us on a build. Call the Center at (812) 298-9455.

We are also the recipient of a generous donation of work and storage space from Wabash Valley Asphalt.

This gives our crews the option to prefabricate ramp parts prior to the build so the ramps can be assembled even faster on site. In addition, the money contributed to our project from the Community Foundation came in significant part from a fund endowed by Wabash Valley Asphalt. What a fine double contribution.

We have also received financial support from Fletcher, Stark, Tanoos and Newlin, the Wal-Mart Foundation, the Bemis Foundation, Terre Haute Savings Bank, Staples and more than two dozen individuals who see the value of the project. All of this, taken together, has translated to more than 50 wheelchair ramps in two building seasons.

Thank you all for supporting your neighbors. None of this happens without the partners. With them, we can move mountains.

— Peter C. Ciancone

Executive Director

The WILL Center

Terre Haute

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