Published: July 5, 2017
BY SARAH DESFORGES
Throughout the month of June members of the Ear Falls Public School’s grade two and three class took on the project of making decorative pictures to put on the wheels of one of their classroom support worker’s wheelchair. Thirteen unique wheelchair covers were made by the kids in Jennifer Harrison’s class.
Harrison says the idea was inspired by a video that she had seen on Facebook earlier in the year. The video was of a business called Izzy Wheels that was started in Ireland by two sisters. Isabel Keane was born with Spina Bifida and was paralyzed from the waist down; she has used a wheelchair her whole life. Keane together with her sister Aibhe hoped to break down the stigma for wheelchair users everywhere and turn their chairs into works of art. Their company designs and makes interactive pictures to attach to the spokes of a user’s wheelchair so that they can embrace their own more fashionable side. The company’s motto is ‘If you can’t stand up, stand out.”
“Growing up, Isabel found it so frustrating that there was nothing available for her to personalize her wheelchair,” Aibhe Keane has said of their company.
Harrison immediately had the idea of getting the kids in her class to create their own wheel covers as a way of raising the kid’s awareness of persons with disabilities. Through use of various art mediums, the kids then designed their own pieces that were then laminated and adorned on the wheelchair of their class support worker.
“I thought it would be a good community service project, and it raises awareness to the kids of people with disabilities,” says Harrison. “Plus I knew right away that the kids would love it.”
The designs ranged from watermelons, to outdoor scenes, to galaxies in space. Some of the kids chose to interview the recipient for ideas, while others expressed their own creativity.
All the proceeds from Izzy Wheels are donated to charities centered on people with disabilities.