High School Teens Build a Cozy Bus Stop Hut for a Boy in a Wheelchair

Real kindness and some basic skills are all it takes to make a difference.

Jan 22, 2022
High School Teens Build a Cozy Bus Stop Hut for a Boy in a Wheelchair | Real kindness and some basic skills are all it takes to make a difference.

Waiting for the bus every morning and going to school has never been better for Ryder Killam, a 5-year-old boy in a wheelchair from Westerly, Rhode Island who was born with spina bifida. He no longer has to wait for the school bus in the open air thanks to the help of caring Westerly High School students, who took on the challenge of building a customized bus shelter especially for him, local newspaper, The Westerly Sun, details.   

A life-changing idea
The goal of the boy’s father, Tim Killam, was to keep his little kid protected from the elements while waiting for the bus every morning, and getting some kind of shelter was actually his idea. He uploaded a post on Facebook asking for an unused bus shelter, as reported on the TV news show, Click on Detroit featured in our video. After not being able to find a suitable one, he decided to contact the high school which had already performed several building projects for the community. 

From concept to reality
The students from Westerly High School construction class, among whom is one of Ryder's brothers, quickly put their hands to work. Soon enough, they devised a two-window heated shelter that is now Ryder’s fort, and one of his favorite spots.

The bus stop, which is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, was designed by pupil Mason Heald, who was in regular contact with the Killams for feedback. He took the project on his shoulders, deciding that he wanted to make it his senior project. 

The construction class, led by teacher Dan McKenna, teaches its members basic building skills and  is part of the high school's Career and Technical Education program. Its main goal is to provide students with tools and skills that will have real applications in future jobs, and a meaningful impact on their community.

"This was design to final product and delivery. It's the best we could have asked for. It's really what these programs should be about," said Michael Hobin, Westerly High School’s principal to The Westerly Sun.

Nurturing skills that help others
More people from the local community chipped in to help make the project happen. One of  McKenna's former students transported the shelter from the high school to the Killiams’ address with his truck. And another neighbor lent his backhoe to properly position the shelter by the bus stop.

Not only did Ryder’s daily life improve, but the students also learnt an unforgettable life lesson. They saw that with their skills and knowledge they can make a real difference in someone else’s life.

“I think it’s very important for my students to learn not only the aspects of construction, but  [those of]  being involved in the community”, McKenna told Click on Detroit. “They all worked together for a common goal and they really enjoy that because they know the end result, they know where it’s going.”

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With a love for fashion, technology, self-development, nature and communication, Daiana is a freelance writer. She is the creator of an online community platform dedicated to providing inspiration and information on trends, developments and positive impact initiatives in the world of Sustainable Fashion.