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Volunteers Helped Eric LeGrand – What Other Community Projects Can We Make Happen?

Eric LeGrand was only 22 years old when he was paralyzed from the neck down during a Rutgers football game on October 16, 2010. Many would have despaired in the same situation, but LeGrand maintained the same positive attitude that led him to become a star football player. Family, friends and fans joined together to support him, too; they created the Eric LeGrand Believe Fund to help provide him with a house that would enable him to get around freely despite his paralysis. American Properties also participated in the effort. Volunteer labor and donated materials made this home a reality.

Volunteers Helped Eric LeGrand - What Other Community Projects Can We Make Happen?

Volunteerism can make a BIG difference.

Building for Those with Ambulatory Disability

The new home is in Avenel, N.J., and is wheelchair-accessible. Infrared controls detect Eric’s presence and alert automatic doors and elevators to open and close without touch triggering. Eric’s story is happier than that of hundreds of other disabled people—many people with disabilities rarely get to leave their homes unless it is to visit a doctor.

Actor Gary Sinise is also on a mission to help disabled people. He targets to help veterans who have lost limbs in battle. To raise money to build a smart home geared to support free movement for those with ambulatory disability, he has enlisted his band to raise funds.

The current home being planned will have the latest technological advances designed to help an amputee live more comfortably despite disabilities. So far six homes have been built for amputee veterans of Iraq and Afganistan. These homes have carefully equipped bathrooms, security, lighting, entertainment systems and kitchens. They are operated by a smartphone or iPad. The average construction costs are about $500,000.

No home is complete without Internet, and for those who cannot use their hands, voice-activated Internet together with a responsive Internet providers can bring a disabled person into contact with the world outside. In the current version of Google Chrome Beta, users can give browser voice commands, so they can search the Web without ever touching the keyboard. This service is free.

Community Action Is for Everyone

The way the community gathered together to help LeGrand is a beautiful expression of our ability to care about one another and selflessly solve problems. Let this be a beginning and continue to contribute our time and resources to community efforts that will ultimately benefit all of us. Here are some ways you can contribute:

  • Inter-Faith Community Services is a volunteer effort that provides enrichment programs and humanitarian service to low-income families through resources from the community. The organization has numerous volunteer opportunities available. They work largely to collect food, clothing and provide financial support for those in need.
  • Most of us rely on Wikipedia to get our general subject content. Wikipedia is another example of community volunteer effort, and it benefits the entire world. Visit the home page to see how you can help.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters brings much-needed mentorship to many children. You could forever impact the life of a child with just your spare time.

Eric LeGrand is a talented and brave sports hero. It would be magnificent if the volunteer effort to help him was part of a wake-up call about volunteerism to the larger community.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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