RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – RampsRVA is a non-profit organization helping disabled residents in the community by building modular wheelchair ramps. The organization was started by high school students and is still run by high school students today.
Building in Henrico, Richmond, and Chesterfield County, students gain sponsorships and fundraise all year long to help pay for materials to build the ramps.
“I think it’s cool how we receive grants from the counties like Henrico and Chesterfield. We are also referenced by organizations such as ‘sheltering arms,’ so you have a lot of support from different places,” said student intern Jordan Gross.
Gross volunteered with the program for the past three summers before she became an intern. She said she learned about RampsRVA through her school club and already loved finance, so the non-profit was a good fit for her.
“Skills learned in classrooms and clubs can be applied directly to the community. Students are always itching for opportunities like that, so I think Ramps is a great way to do that,” said Student Director Carson Wang.
Like Gross, Wang started as a volunteer before becoming a student director. A rising senior at Maggie Walker Governor school, Wang took his love for documentaries and followed a ‘Ramps’ recipient through his journey of living with a disability.
“I wanted to showcase Ramps to residents in Richmond because some recipients often stay quiet because it is hard to showcase those struggles,” Wang said. “I wanted to use the documentary skills I learned and apply that to RampsRVA’s cause.”
Wang also enrolled in finance and math modeling classes in school to help build skills to grow the non-profit.
A typical wheelchair ramp can cost up to $3,000 to construct. RampsRVA said sustainability is a big part of the ramp building process. After a ramp is no longer in need, the team will break down the ramp and save the tools to help the next recipient. RampsRVA said the organization has saved over $95,000 a year by reusing materials.
“To see our ramp work and in action with the recipient walking or rolling down it, it’s not only emotional for us, but it is even more emotional for the recipient,” Wang said.
RampsRVA builds all year long and is always looking for student volunteers. Find out how to sign up or how to request a ramp here.