Phoenix, AZ

Teenagers build shelter to protect little boy in wheelchair while he waits for school bus

Amy Christie

A group of teenagers came together to build a special shelter for a boy who needed to use a wheelchair after they found out he was getting wet while waiting for the bus to come.

Ryder Killam had to face rain, snow, and strong wind for 15 minutes every school day during the last three years. He only had a patio umbrella as protection, but he always showed up for classes.

After finding out about his problem, several local students decided to start working and build a shelter at the bottom of Ryder's driveway.

What are the details?

Local students from Bradford, Rhode Island, decided to put their construction lessons to good use and help a little boy get a break from bad weather while going to school. The shelter they made changed Ryder's life, and going to school will be so much easier for him from now on.

"Ryder uses it every day before going to school, and his nurses wait inside it every day while they await his return home," Tim, the boy's dad, shared with The Epoch Times.

It all started with Tim reaching out to their community to check if there was any way to protect Ryder from the weather.

"I placed a post looking to see if one of my friends or their connections might have an old bus hut. I saw them here and there on people's property and figured maybe someone had one and might not need it anymore," Tim said.

After sending the message online, Tim got a suggestion to get in touch with the construction class studying at Westerly High and ask if they were willing to get on board for a project to build a bus stop hut for Ryder.

Tim sent an email to Dan McKena, who has been teaching construction technology at Westerly High School for the past 27 years, and asked him if he would take an interest in such a project.

"He responded 'absolutely,' and then worked with his students to design and build the hut," Tim added.

The project brought together three classes, and all the students worked hard to make it happen. As they created the structure, the teens learned new skills and were motivated by the will to help and be kind.

Home Depot donated about $300 worth of wood to build the bus stop hut, and the rest of the materials cost about $600.

The hut measured 5×8 feet, so Ryder and one of his parents or a nurse could wait inside comfortably. Six weeks after starting work on the project, the unique hut was delivered to Ryder's home.

"We were so shocked; it was a lot bigger than we expected and allowed great access for both Ryder and an adult to be with him comfortably. Ryder loved it, and he wants to hang out in it all the time," Tim said.

The family took a photo of Ryder inside the shelter and thanked the students for their determination and hard work.

"This project brought the community together a bit; it showed there is still so much good in this world and town!" Tim shared about the wonderful project.

"It makes life easier since the door to the bus is 75+ feet away. We can now sit outside in the hut and stay out of the elements as it's a bit of an effort going from the house to the bus, and then the ramp takes time to be lowered out of the bus and load him on; it has made things much smoother," he concluded, pointing out how touching it was that the community offered a solution when they were struggling and that the students and their teacher cared enough about the little boy to make a difference in Ryder's life and help him get to classes and smile more often.


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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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