On Friday and Saturday, 29-30 October 29 and 30, SURVICE employees participated in a Wheelchair Costume Workshop. This workshop was organized by the Harford County Government’s Office of Disability Services and Commission on Disabilities. It was hosted by Mt. Zion Church in Bel Air. This is the second time this event was organized in Harford County; SURVICE also participated in 2019.
For some children who use a wheelchair, dressing up in a costume and trick-or-treating in their neighborhood can be a challenge. Traditional Halloween costumes often don't fit, and the physical inaccessibility of neighborhoods leaves many children with disabilities home on that magical night. The Wheelchair Costume Workshop enables these children to have their dream costume specially designed just for them.
This year’s SURVICE team consisted of Herb Miller and his wife, Carissa Miller, Becca Trout and her boyfriend, Justin Haag, Chris Cosgrove and his daughter, Delaney Cosgrove, and Dwayne Kregel. The team was assigned to an 8-year-old named Audrey, who was dressing as Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” for Halloween and asked for an “Under the Sea Chariot” with dolphins, rainbows, and lots of glitter and sparkle. The SURVICE team certainly delivered!
Once the costumes were created, an inclusive trunk-or-treat event was held for the children, their siblings, and the public on October 30 at Mt. Zion Church in Bel Air. The costumes went home with each child to use for trick-or-treating at home this year or for future Halloweens.
- “The kids excited, smiling, and happy with something our teams built is definitely the primary reason why we participated.”
- “It's a fun and challenging puzzle to solve. You need to build a light and functional costume on a unique wheelchair with limited materials in two days, and you do not want a disappointed child--so it is motivating!”
- “This event has been a lot of fun to participate in. It's a festive atmosphere with lots of enthusiasm and creativity.”
- “I participated because I wanted to make these kids feel special and included for Halloween. It’s the one day of the year where kids can pretend to be who they want to be, and a wheelchair should not stop them from doing that! I love being creative and building things, so this was so enjoyable for me.”
- “My favorite part of this event was seeing Audrey’s reaction to her wheelchair costume. She was so appreciative and could not stop saying thank you to us. This was truly a priceless moment!”
- “I would recommend volunteering for events like these to everyone. I know it’s hard to find the time to volunteer in the community because everyone has their own busy schedules; but in just a day and a half, we were able to create something so special for this little girl. I’m sure this will be something her and her family will talk about for years to come. Seeing how you can positively affect your community and seeing the outcome of an event like this is why I love volunteering.”
- I participated in this event because I saw first-hand how awesome it was in 2019. Having spent a good portion of my years growing up with a physical disability myself, I understand the difficulties these children have in participating in events that we all too much take for granted. Additionally, this event is a great example of what communities can do together that cannot be done individually. My wife and I try to instill a sense of duty to serve our community with our daughters, and this was a perfect way to combine that with our artistic and engineering talents. I love that my 8-year-old daughter was able to help all day Saturday and see the excited reaction and gratitude from a little girl her same age when she tried out her new wheelchair costume.”
- Why did you participate? “Are you kidding?! Because this is AWESOME!! Because my heart is beating. Because I was (and am) a kid who loves Halloween. Because sharing love and joy is wonderful! Candy.”
- What you liked the most about the event and the build? “This kind of coming together of like-minded people to do cool and amazing things for others is the stuff of religious texts, poems, cat posters, and songs. And it makes you feel great!”
- Why would you recommend others volunteer for this and other events in the future? “Some side effects: a persistent turning up of the corners of the mouth, a strange and wonderful glow in your heart, dreams that come true, a feeling that you are about to go out into the world full of great awe and excitement and open your pillowcase and the world will give you your heart’s desire.”