Teens Build Bus Stop Shelter for 5-Year-old Wheelchair User, Protecting Him From Harsh Weather

Teenagers have built a shelter for a five-year-old boy who uses a wheelchair after noticing he got wet while waiting for the school bus in winter.

Five-year-old Ryder Killam has had to battle rain, wind, and snow for about 15 minutes every day, using only a patio umbrella as protection.

But after hearing about his problem, local students in Bradford, Rhode Island, got to work and built him his own bus shelter for the bottom of his driveway during their construction lessons.

Ryder’s father Tim said, “Ryder uses it every day before school and his nurses wait inside it every day while they await his return home.

“He does like to go hang out in it from time to time as his fort as well.

“This project brought out community together a bit, it showed that there is still so much good in this world and town!”

Ryder was born with spina bifida myelomeningocele and has never been able to walk.

He stated using a wheelchair when he was two years old.

He started attending inclusionary preschool Dunn’s Corner Elementary in June 2019, and every day had to be pushed 75ft to the end of the road to wait for his school bus by his parents Tim and Nikea.

As Ryder was unable to rush for this bus if he was running late like his peers, this would often mean he’d have to wait for up to 15 minutes out in whatever weather there was.

In September this year, just when Ryder started kindergarten, Tim decided to put up a patio umbrella at the end of his driveway to provide some shelter from the elements.

He said, “The problem is with the wind and fall weather here in New England it really didn’t accomplish much unless it was just a rainy day with no wind, otherwise he still would get wet and not stay warm.”

They decided to reach out to their community to see if anyone had anything that would work to protect Ryder from the elements.

Tim, who runs a marine electronics company, said, “I placed a post on Facebook looking to see if one of my friends or one of their connections might have an old bus hut.

“I see them here and there on people’s property and figured maybe someone had one and had grown children that might not need it anymore.

“After the post, a WPS member suggested I reach out to the construction class at Westerly High and see if they would want to take on the project of building Ryder a bus stop hut.”

Tim sent Dan McKena, who had been teaching construction technology at Westerly High School for 27 years, an email asking if he’d be interested in this kind of project.

“He responded with an ‘absolutely’ and then he worked with his students to design and build the hut,” he said.

Three of Mr Mckena’s classes worked hard on the project for numerous weeks, learning new skills through YouTube as they created the structure, motivated by the cause and knowing that soon snow would be falling.

About $300 worth of wood was donated by Home Depot for the project, but the rest of the materials were purchased by the Kilmans for $600, who were kept updated with photos throughout.

The hut was built 5×8 feet so that it could bit both Ryder and one of his parents or a nurse comfortably, and was finally delivered to the home six weeks later on November 2.

Tim said, “We were shocked, it was much bigger than we expected and allows such great access for Ryder and an adult to be with him comfortably.

“Ryders first reaction was ‘Holy Cow!’, he loved it and wants to hang out it in all the time.”

The family sent a photo of Ryder in the bus shelter and thanked the teens for their hard work. We’re sure they were thrilled to see just how their project has helped others.