In a touching narrative, an Illinois educator, fondly known as “Ms. Helma,” exhibited unwavering dedication to ensure the inclusion of 10-year-old student Maggie Vazquez, who has cerebral palsy, in a two-day hiking trip.
Ms. Helma’s commitment went beyond the ordinary as she physically carried Maggie, creating a memorable and inclusive experience.
When the challenge arose of incorporating Maggie into the excursion to Camp Sullivan, located 40 miles from their Chicago charter school, the Academy of Global Citizenship, Ms. Helma’s determination became evident.
Despite exploring various ideas, logistical constraints posed obstacles. Turning to social media, she discovered the Freeloader, a carrier suitable for taller children like Maggie.
Investing in the $300 carrier, Ms. Helma made it possible for approximately 50 fourth-grade students and 10 school staff members to enjoy the camping adventure from May 30 to June 1.
Navigating challenging terrains while carrying Maggie proved to be demanding, but Ms. Helma drew inspiration from Maggie’s resilience and joy.
Maggie’s mother, Michelle Vazquez, lauded Ms. Helma for going “way above and beyond,” providing unique experiences.
The school’s executive director, Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, hailed Ms. Helma as the “epitome of relentless determination.”