NATIONAL FFA ORGANIZATION DELEGATES BUILD A RAMP
Earlier this year, Servants at Work, Inc was invited by the National FFA Organization to participate in the ‘National Days of Service’ for the National Convention in Indianapolis. The National FFA Organization’s ‘National Days of Service” comprised of 2,500 young people doing meaningful service activities around the Indianapolis area. A few of the other organizations in this initiative included: Westminster Neighborhood Services, Indy Cultural Trail, Newfields, Salvation Army, and Gleaners. The effect of thousands of youths coming for the convention and doing good things while they are here, is one of the many benefits to our community in hosting this conference.
SAWs hosted the 40 FFA delegates for a special event at the SAWs Indianapolis pre-build facility. The delegates were separated into four teams so that they could participate in every aspect of the ramp build process. They learned about the client validation process, as well as the growing need for accessibility, and the impact a SAWs ramp has on our clients. They also participated the design, fabrication, and assembly processes so they were able to understand the total effort to get an ADA-compliant ramp installed at a client’s home. The FFA delegates successfully built and even tested a new ramp at the SAWs facility, destined for a family in Johnson County, Indiana.
Once the ramp was pre-built, SAWs needed a team to install it. Project manager Jim Hamilton lead a group of volunteers from the Mount Auburn United Methodist Church to install the ramp that the FFA Delegates had built. Ramp recipients Floyd and Nancy are both living with mobility challenges, so there was an extraordinary need for this ramp. “The ramp has worked out really well, I could not ask for anything better!” both shared after the installation. They were also thrilled that several FFA team members had signed wooden deck boards on their ramp. SAWs Operations Manager Tim Thurston, who organized the FFA session and the ramp build, remains amazed at the ability for SAWs to pull multiple entities into a common purpose.
The feedback from both the FFA and SAWs around this experience was very positive. Both organizations expressed a desire to do it again in 2023. One of the best outcomes was an awareness of the mobility problem many people in our population face, and the insights on how to resolve this issue. There were approximately 20 states represented by the delegates in attendance, and the enthusiasm to explore creating a SAWs remote hub in their communities was high. But of course, the best outcome of this collaboration was the ramp built for Floyd and Nancy.