News & Press

Press Release – February 1, 2015

WorldCause Foundation Provides New Wheelchair Accessibility Ramps For Jerald Garcia, 12

WorldCause Foundation Provides New Wheelchair Accessibility Ramps For Jerald Garcia, 12

Speaking with 12 year old Jerald Garcia in his small but cozy Southwest Miami-Dade home, it's easy to look past the fact that he suffers from Cerebral Palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.

He energetically speaks about his recent trip to a park with friends and how his new motorized wheelchair allows him to zip around the house and school for his daily activities. His live in caretaker and grandmother smiles and concurs, stating that it's no exaggeration and that Jerald is constantly on the move regardless of disability.

Aside from his situation, Jerald is like many other kids his age, filled with spirit and a great outlook on life.

At his school for children with special needs, Beyond Expectations Academy, he's made many friends and it seems like he is well his way to becoming class president or at least one of the most popular students.

Holding up his county commuter pass, he explains how through his care taker agency he has recently petitioned for improvements regarding wheelchair transportation services throughout Miami-Dade County. He states that some mornings the transit van that drives him to school runs as late as 45 minutes to an hour and that multiple stops can delay getting to some of the closest destinations.

He adds that he is determined to get in contact with the higher up's and inform them of the suggestions and changes he believes would not only make his life easier , but other passengers along his daily route as well.

His single mother works a part time job in order to provide for the family but even she states that there are times when the job just doesn't pay enough. For example, one of Jerald's main wishes was to replace the old rotted wooden wheelchair ramps leading into the home with newer weather-proof ramps so he can get in and out of the house easier.

A friend of the family helped build and install the original wooden ramps which served their purpose for the time being, but then began to deteriorate after enduring months of rainy weather. With daily wear and tear, and the fact that Jerald is a growing boy, the family knew it was time to replace the ramps with newer ones but mom was unable to allocate the funding toward this necessity.

Enter CCDH and WorldCause Foundation, two local organizations with a mission statement directed towards helping families and individuals in desperate need throughout South Florida.

One site visit was all it took for outreach coordinator Robert Preston to determine WorldCause would do everything in its power to help purchase these much needed ramps for Jerald.

With the help of SurfMed, WorldCause was able to get a proper measurement of two weather-resistant stainless steel wheelchair ramps for the home.

Following the installation of these ramps, both Robert Preston of WorldCause Foundation and Ana Santana of CCDH made a visit back to the residence to check on Jerald and see how he was adapting to them.

"No problems, it's so much easier to get in and out of the house and look I can even do this", zipping up the ramp throwing in a 360 spin in his motorized wheelchair to top things off.

Waiting until Jerald disappears into the house, his grandmother briefly loses control of her emotions on the front porch, leaning into the wall crying silently and expressing her gratitude for the ramps. True to his character, Jerald quickly comes back out to interject with a joke about his ability to beat local kids in neighborhood foot races with his chair.

When asked about the status of the improvements to the Miami Dade public wheelchair transportation services he says they haven't gotten back to him yet. Flashing a mischievous smile, he let us know that he plans on voicing his opinions and suggestions directly to the company through a phone number he's recently retrieved through research on the computer.

WorldCause Foundation would like to thank the Garcia family, Miami Herald WishBook foundation, CCDH and SurfMed for everyone's help in coming together and improving Jerald's quality of life.

We will continue to post updates on Jerald's exciting progress within the upcoming months.