Open Streets, organized through City of Fort Collins Bikes, was a fun filled community event in old town Fort Collins on June 16th with vendors from the community, food trucks, and live music. Nick was stationed at the Maple St. hub, prime real estate to make connections and build new friendships while educating the community on different abilities and challenges that come with them.
Community members had the option to participate in several different disability simulations including a wheelchair obstacle course, experiencing the course while blind, experiencing having limited mobility in their hands while buttoning up a shirt, experiencing sensory integration issues, and lip reading.
Kids who tried the wheelchair obstacle course found it much more difficult than they expected!
Most kids hit a cone or two but came away with a new appreciation for what it is like to move a different way and the challenges that come with it.
Nick had his speech device available for community members to see and experience a different way of talking. Nick demonstrated his device for many interested kids and parents.
As the day went on, more and more people stopped at Nick’s booth to see what we were all about. With our cones, wheelchairs, and canes people quickly became interested in what we had to offer.
When they learned that we were offering simulations of different challenges experienced by those with different abilities, attendees were really excited to see that Nick was out in the community advocating for those who live a little differently.
Nick’s favorite part of the day was watching the kids navigate the cones!
Parents loved seeing their kids engaged in these simulations and often helped Nick teach the kids about why it is important to understand that different people have different challenges in life and we should be respectful of everyone we meet.
Nick had copies of his book, Helping in Action, for sale at the event and many kids enjoyed checking out a copy.
Nick handed out bookmarks to anyone who loved to read.
Nick met many members of his community who share his passion for education, like music therapist Daniel Goldschmidt. Nick and Daniel have both done TEDx talks! Check out Daniel’s TEDx talk on YouTube.
Nick would like to thank the City of Fort Collins Bikes for this opportunity to educate and advocate.
Open Streets will come back to Fort Collins on September 29th, 2019, and Nick will be there to continue to show his community that even though we all have different challenges, we can still connect and care for one another. Come see him and support Awesome in Action and Nick’s message of inclusive diversity.
Nick and the AiA team have discovered a most awesome “accessibility” group here in Colorado. In fact, so amazing is this group that they delivered Despicable Me Fart Blasters to them for conversion therapy of a sort. The group is called Santa’s Little Hackers and you all need to know what they do! As you can see, the toy has a trigger. People with Nick’s abilities cannot manipulate that trigger.
The mom and dad of one young man, Max, decided that Max should have a way to play with toys despite his motor-coordination challenge. Mom asked dad to take a toy and wire a proper switch that Max could actually operate. Without the switch, max apparently could not play with the toy as other children do. This kind of play helps children develop eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, and cognitive understanding of the the idea that when you push a button, something happens. Interestingly, this kind of play also helps those who use speech devices so they can operate the device and develop language as well. Here’s the video story of Max and his family, and how they came to be the Santa’s Little Hackers nonprofit: “Colorado-based Santa’s Little Hackers bringing smiles to the faces of kids with special needs”
Mission undertaken by Nick and the AiA team – we located some Fart Blasters and met up with Renee and Pasqual for the handoff, members of The “Santa’s Little Hackers” team preparing for the Saturday hack-a-thon to turn 1400 regular toys into adaptive toys.
We have not heard yet heard about the turn out at the Saturday event, but we do know that this non-profit is one of the sparks of inspiration that we consider Awesome in Action and we think they are a great option for December 6th Colorado Gives Day!!