Speed Reads

problem solvers

Rhode Island high schoolers work together to build wheelchair-accessible bus stop for boy

Whether it's snow, rain, or wind, Ryder Kilam will be protected from the elements while waiting for the bus, thanks to several Rhode Island high schoolers.

Ryder, 5, uses a wheelchair, and to keep him comfortable while waiting for the school bus outside of his home, his family set up a patio umbrella. It didn't do much to keep him protected, and Ryder's family asked on social media if anyone had a structure they no longer needed that could be converted into a shelter for Ryder. 

Dan McKena, a construction technology teacher at Westerly High School, heard about the request and offered to help. "I think it's very important for my students to learn not only the aspects of construction but of being involved in the community dealing with people outside of the school environment," he told WJAR. Student Mason Heald drew up the blueprints for the structure and made it his senior project, and for a few weeks, several of his classmates worked on the shelter, picking up new skills along the way.

Now installed outside of the Kilam home, the fully accessible structure has plenty of room for Ryder and his dad, Tim, who said the family hopes to one day meet all of the students so they can be thanked in person. Ryder "loves" his bus stop, Tim told WJAR, adding that after school, Ryder "makes us stay out here and hang out now, it's his fort. The community, they're incredible ... it's unreal how everyone comes together to make things work for everybody."