When Amber opened her eyes she was lying in a pile of shattered glass. Sprawled upside down in the backseat of her totaled car, she tried to move but found that she could not. When paramedics arrived to pull her from the wreckage, the shocking truth was difficult to comprehend: Amber was paralyzed from the waist down.
Months of complicated rehabilitation helped her adapt to a new way of life but only just so much. Once she was discharged from the hospital and then sent home, Amber found herself trapped within the four walls of her house with no easy way to maneuver outdoors. No longer could she watch her children play, swim, or ride their bikes up and down the street. It was a devastating reality for her.
Thanks to our partnership with a volunteer group called the Carpenter’s Sons, a wheelchair ramp was successfully installed on Amber’s house. Without it, her adaptation into a new life of freedom would have never happened. Now, with a newfound taste of freedom, Amber is finally able to experience the simple joys of life again, such as sunlight on her face, the sight of her children playing outdoors, and the gentle feeling of the breeze in her hair.
This year, the Carpenter’s Sons have installed more than 60 wheelchair ramps and repaired nearly 30 more. Each ramp is a complex undertaking that allows more homeowners access to an adaptation needed for a life with mobility challenges. Thanks to the support of donors like you, we will continue providing wheelchair ramps to neighbors like Amber and so many others.
When Arline moved into her neighborhood, she looked around and realized there was room for much improvement. Instead of hoping someone else would initiate change, she decided to take matters into her own hands and seek solutions instead. After becoming the Association President of her historic Fort Wayne neighborhood, Arline implemented one small change after another. It didn’t take long for reality to sink in: her solutions were actually making a difference.
Inspired by success, she moved on to bigger, more complicated issues. After assuming many of them were rooted in a few years’ worth of neglect, Arline soon learned a more distressing truth: many of the issues plaguing her neighborhood were deeply-rooted systemic issues stretching as far back as a hundred years or more. Each was overly complex and deserved sustainable solutions. But where does one begin on such a complicated journey of change?
Every community across Fort Wayne has a similar story to be told. That’s why we work alongside many neighborhoods to find lasting solutions to complex problems. This year, we have partnered with Hoagland Masterson and Foster Park neighborhoods to initiate sidewalk repairs, porch repairs, exterior painting projects, concrete step replacements, and other significant home improvements as part of a HIP Grant program.
Because of the commitment from donors like you, we will have many more opportunities to positively impact other neighborhoods across Fort Wayne. Without the partnership of our community and volunteers like you, the solutions to many of these complex problems will continue unresolved.
Naomi heard a faint dripping sound inside her house and traced its origin to the roof. It was frustrating but she didn’t have time to dwell on it— she was a single mom with lots of difficult situations to juggle and the minor dripping only made her busy life more complex.
Seasons passed. Before she knew it, the wet spots around the house had multiplied in mysterious ways. She dreaded the rain and the snow, prayed for sunny days and bright, clear skies. The situation got so bad that some rooms became unusable. All she could do was pour love into her children and empty the rainwater buckets as each became full. Ten years passed in such a way with no hope for a better tomorrow.
When we heard Naomi’s story though the advocacy of her neighbors, we knew we wanted to help. With a housing situation as complex as hers, we knew we couldn’t do it on our own. In a stunning act of kindness, and thanks in part to a Community Development Block Grant from the City of Fort Wayne, nearly 70 of Naomi’s neighbors responded in her complicated time of need to provide a brand new roof for the self-sacrificing mother of five. Not only did they raise $7500 for her complex project, but they raised it in less than nine hours, without warning, on a random Friday in July. This project was over $12,000 in total cost.
Without their partnership, a transformational act of kindness like this would be impossible to navigate on our own. With the continued support of donors like you, NeighborLink will be able to step into many more complex situations just like this and make significant, long-lasting change for neighbors that we care about.