February 1, 2014
This Saturday two local nonprofits will combine their talents to make life easier for one Spring Hill family and their child with disabilities.
Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County and Tucker’s House are teaming up to create a new bathroom space for 14-year old Ariel Fuentes who has Cerebral Palsy and developmental delays. Despite his physical challenges, Ariel is a happy, energetic boy who navigates his home by gliding on his knees. He enjoys playing with his younger brothers Emmanuel (11) and Alejandro (7) and regularly participating in the therapeutic riding program at Saddle Up!
While Ariel has little problem getting around, the family’s current bathroom creates great safety challenges. Ariel’s parents Maria and Jose must maneuver a small, cramped space and repeatedly lift their teenage son over the high lip of the bathtub. After the bath, they must then carry him to another room to dry and dress him due to limited space. Potential for falls and injuries are ever-present.
In order to make this essential ritual safer and easier on Ariel’s parents, Habitat volunteers will enlarge the square footage of the bathroom, mount a more stable toilet, and install a roll-under sink. In addition, they will remove the hard-to-navigate step-over tub and install a zero-entry shower unit. This new addition will make it much easier for Ariel to access the tub and use his new shower chair. The project will take approximately two days and will be completed by six Habitat volunteers. Hiller Plumbing and Bin There, Dump That are graciously donating their supplies and disposal services for this project.
Ariel’s new bathroom is a testament to the power of partnership. Sunny Rosanbalm, the President and founder of Tucker’s House (as well as the grandmother of Tucker Rosanbalm, the namesake of the organization), explains her organization’s success working with like-minded organizations. “We are thrilled to be partnering this year with Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County. The missions of both organizations complement one another beautifully. With the desire to further good stewardship of our resources, we are linking arms to aid our community. Together we serve by making homes a functional place of refuge for so many precious children with disabilities and their wonderful families. We look forward to partnering on many more projects with Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County as we serve this inexhaustible need.”
Long-time Habitat volunteer Carol McDaniel can’t wait to start work on this project, which resonates personally with her. “My late husband was a paraplegic for 41 years due to a construction injury at age 19, so I am acutely aware of the problems of architectural barriers,” she explains. “And I know how much better the daily activities of the person with disabilities, as well as the family, can be in an accessible home. I am so happy to be able to donate my time, skills, and money to the Tucker House accessibility projects in memory of Steve — I know he would approve.”
For more information on applying for services from Tucker’s House, please visit www.tuckershouse.org. To sign up to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County, please visit hfhwm.org/volunteer/.
Click here to see photos from Ariel’s bathroom renovation.