Sha-King loves building adaptive devices at Adaptive Design. Once a week for ten weeks, he and ten volunteers from the Exodus Transitional Community gathered in the shop at ADA headquarters to build easels that support electronic notebooks for children in the New York School system. Eric Gottshall and Adam El- Sawaf, designers at ADA, mentored the Exodus volunteers, teaching them how to work with cardboard to make adaptive devices that are durable and lightweight.
“Going to ADA was an excellent experience,” said Sha-King. “Coming in and building things for kids has helped me to focus on my own goals. I have been affected by the justice system which was a personal setback. I had a real need to help others while figuring out how to move forward and work on my own personal dreams.” Working at ADA allowed me to pull on my own personal strengths while helping others.”
Eric and Adam always look forward to the days when Exodus volunteers come in to help. “The volunteers bring an amazing amount of happiness and enthusiasm into the shop.” Said Eric. At lunch, we all sit down at the table together and visit. We laugh, share snacks, and our worlds overlap for a short time. The joy and energy of the Exodus volunteers share, has a lasting effect, we feel their energy for days after they leave.”
Exodus and ADA have formed a unique partnership. “Exodus is dedicated to providing life skills to people who were affected by the justice system.” Said Michael Marshall, Program Manager at Exodus. “We want our participants to understand more about their reentry journey through being of service to others. ADA is the perfect organization for our participants. Making adaptive equipment for kids feels good and is truly helping to make a difference.”
“We welcome volunteers from all walks of life.” Said Jennifer Hercman, Executive Director for ADA. “Having volunteers share new ideas is what makes ADA dynamic and constantly evolving. The volunteers from Exodus are helping us as much as we are helping them.” Said Jennifer.
Sha-King plans to use the skills he learned at ADA to propel him forward with his own personal life goals. “I’m planning on finishing my GED and becoming a motivational speaker.” Said Sha-King. “My time at ADA helped to pull on my inner strength, giving me more confidence and focus. It was a transforming experience!”
At ADA, we are about transforming lives through design and service. We can only do this important work with your support. Thank you for considering a gift that can impact so many lives.
Photo Series 1: Photo (1) Volunteer from Exodus painting the yellow base coat for a floor sitter, designed to build core strength to sit independently on the floor. Photo (2) Detail of Elmo painted by a volunteer artist. Photo (3) 18-month-old young child smiling with her older sister as she enjoys her new custom floor sitter.
Photo Series 2: Photo (1) Volunteer from Exodus edging blank tactile symbol cards used for teaching students with visual disabilities. Photo (2) volunteers and ADA staff painting blank cards black for high contrast. Photo (3) A Speech-language pathologist using blank black cards to customize communication for her student.
Photo Series 3: Photo (1) Volunteer from Exodus cutting cardboard pieces to assemble activity easels. Photo (2) Volunteers deliver custom-colored easels for students with low vision. Photo (3) Danielle, Director of Vision and Hearing Services at The International Academy of Hope, demonstrates how the teachers use the easels to make learning more accessible for their students.