Rhode Island students build bus stop shelter for child who uses wheelchair


(WJAR) — Getting on the bus in the morning is a lot more enjoyable for a Rhode Island boy who uses a wheelchair to get around.

When a high school class heard he would sit out in the elements while waiting for the bus, it got the wheels in their heads spinning.

For the past few weeks, when 5-year-old Ryder gets ready to head to school, a beautifully built bus hut awaits him.

“It’s become his fort Ryders little man cave,” Ryder’s dad, Tim Kilam, said.

“With Ryder being in a wheelchair, unfortunately, it’s about 75 feet from the door to the bus. He’s not the typical child that can run out when the bus comes,” Tim said.

Initially, Ryder’s family used a patio umbrella to keep him dry, but with the winter weather approaching his family asked for help to get him something more suitable.

“We actually put a post on Facebook looking for friends that maybe new somebody that had one that were no longer using.”

When word got over to westerly high school, “I think my first email was ‘absolutely were in’”, construction teacher Dan McKena said.

McKena’s construction class went to work to prove that true.

“I think it’s very important for my students to learn not only the aspects of construction but of being involved in the community,” McKena said.

Mason Heald took the reins making it his senior project.

“It’s nothing, just a shed. I’m helping out somebody,” he said.

Mason drew up blueprints approved by the family and made everything ADA accessible. Ryder’s older brother is also in the class.

Home Depot donated $300 worth of wood. The Killam’s purchased $600. Mr. McKenna’s construction class donated countless hours of their time.

“It definitely made it extra special. I was really happy it was pretty cool to do something like that,” Mason said.

It definitely made it extra special. I was really happy it was pretty cool to do something like that.”

A former construction student volunteered to drop it off and now getting picked up is something Ryder looks forward to.

“They’re incredible, they’ve come forward a couple of times for Ryder,” Tim said. “Just want to thank them very much this a great thing they did for Ryder and it’ll be here for years to come.”

Ryder hasn’t yet met the class that rallied around him, but they plan to in the future.

“That one photo that the family sent me made it all worth it and I shared it with the students that were involved in the construction,” McKena said.

What they’ve built goes beyond the classroom.

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