NLRO Student, Derek Kerpics, Assists in Construction of a Handicapped-Accessible Playground as Part of a Make-a-Wish Project.

Posted by on Sep 16, 2014 in News & Events | Comments Off

Cleveland Job Corps Center- Carpentry Program

September 3rd, 2014

UBC Carpentry Pre-apprentices Help Make Aron’s Wish a Reality
On Thursday, August 7, 2014, four carpentry pre-apprentices Malachi Johnson, Derek Kerpics, Rashaun “Mississippi” Randle, Anthoney Morris and their instruc-tor, Dan Volpe assisted Installation Tech-nicians from Playground World to create a handicapped accessible playground for Aron Wickman at his home. The project sponsor, Make-a-Wish Foundation of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and their partners, Recreation Brands Group, and Playground World welcomed the student carpenters’ help.
Aron and Nathan are the twin sons of Greg and Missy Wickman. The boys, who were born 1/4/2006, are not your typical eight year olds; in their youth they have experienced many challenges, often times with Aron spending two to three weeks at a time at what Greg refers to as the Rainbow Hotel (Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital of Cleveland), yet the boys show incredible resilience. It has been said that twins share a bond unlike other siblings. Nathan senses when his brother isn’t feeling well and asks his parents not to make Aron go to the hospital. Of course the trip downtown is never an option, but homecomings are special for the boys.
The Make-a-Wish Project originated when converging circles of friends with ties to the twins met and discussed the possibility of a joint service project. The planning took approximately three months, resulting in a project that was completed in only one day.
The student volunteers were briefed the morning of the install, yet until they had the opportunity to meet Aron in the early afternoon following his daily physical therapy, they really had no idea how this project could improve his quality of life. Communication with Aron can be difficult at first – you must learn to read his facial expressions (happy, sad, contentment, discomfort). He uses two words: “Hi!” and “Momma”. It is unknown what Aron can actually see or hear, but it is believed that his eyesight is limited to shadows. Aron responds with smiles and laughter to vibrations created by work on and around the house, to the roar of a Harley-Davidson, and the soothing sounds of Taylor Swift’s voice –the only voice that comforts him when he is experiencing extreme discomfort.
Cleveland Job Corps Carpentry students helped to make Aron’s wish a reality. The sun shade of the structure allows him to spend time with his brother, Nathan, in the afternoon on swings, or at the percussion/music station found at the front end of the play structure. Our students now understand that their do-nation of one day’s labor now serves to enhance the quality of the boy’s life.