CHANGE client helps make sidewalks accessible
Jeremy is a client who receives services at CHANGE, Inc. in Westminster, MD. Pennie is Jeremy’s 1:1 staff member. She helps Jeremy during the day when he comes to CHANGE, Inc. This past summer, Pennie & Jeremy thought it would be fun to walk to the Farm Museum. Jeremy enjoys being outside in the fresh air and the Farm Museum is just across the street from CHANGE. It wasn’t until Jeremy and Pennie had started on their walk that they realized it was not possible.
You see, Jeremy uses a wheel chair to move around. In order for him to visit the Farm Museum under his own power, he needs to use the sidewalks. The problem they encountered was that the sidewalk on the other side of the street was not wheelchair-accessible. Additionally, the sidewalk that leads to the other CHANGE facility on Center Street has a similar issue. It’s not wheelchair-accessible. In order to go to either place, they would have to walk in the street and use driveways to get up on the sidewalk.
Most people would have accepted this and moved on, but not Jeremy and Pennie. This dynamic duo decided that they would do what was necessary to bring the issue to the City’s attention. Surely there are other people that could benefit from an accessible sidewalk. So Pennie made a few phone calls and finally spoke to an employee at City Works. She explained that she and Jeremy wanted to use the sidewalks to go to the Farm Museum and to the other CHANGE facility, but could not because the sidewalks were not wheelchair-accessible. The kind employee quickly said, “We can take care of that! It was just an unintentional oversight.”
A few weeks went by and Pennie was worried the work would not be done. She followed up and found out the City had to wait because regulations had been changed and the road crews needed to attend a special training. Weeks went by and on her way into work on November 2nd, Pennie saw a sight that made her very happy. Work was in progress on the first of the four sidewalks and curb cuts were being installed. She rushed into CHANGE and told Jeremy, “We have to go see it in person!” When asked how having the sidewalks fixed with curb cuts made him feel, Jeremy said, “I can now take a walk” safely to the Farm Museum or to the Vocational building. Jeremy also thinks, “Other people will feel good too.”
At CHANGE we are fortunate to be surrounded by amazing staff and clients each day. They strive to contribute to their community and make the neighborhood in which we work a better place for all. Special thanks goes out to Pennie, Jeremy and the employees of City Works for making this project possible.