Grant For Shower Fix ‘A Blessing’ to West Deer Family
By Jodi Weigand
Thursday, July 8, 2010
A new grant program for the disabled will help a West Deer family transform its traditional bathtub into a walk-in shower with a bench and safety rails.
Bonnie Wilczynski said the family’s shower is too small and a little bit scary for her son, Austin, 16, who has multiple disabilities, including cerebral palsy. He has trouble getting in and out of the tub and has slipped a couple of times, she said.
The family plans to use $1,500 from the New Story Fund to make the improvements this summer. Without the money, the most they could have done was attach a few safety rails, said Wilczynski, 49.
“Hopefully, this new shower will be large enough to move around, and it won’t be so slippery,” she said.
The Wilczynskis are among 23 Pennsylvania families to be the first to benefit from the New Story Fund, a part of New Story, a for-profit company that operates 10 schools and 17 program and services facilities across Pennsylvania for children with serious or complex disabilities. The fund, announced in February, will award up to $25,000 twice a year to Pennsylvania families, with a $1,500 maximum per family.
An affiliation with New Story is not required and grants are available to children with any type of disability, including emotional, behavioral or educational.
“The application was so easy to fill out (because) I didn’t have to have six doctors’ notes and health insurance denials,” Wilczynski said. “Anytime you try to do anything, even simple things, it’s such a hassle. … So something like this is such a blessing.”
That was the idea behind the New Story Fund, said Tara Koretz, the company’s director of development.
“Tell us your story, tell us your need, so that we can help you,” she said. “It’s not an amount of money that’s going to pay for college or buy a new home, but it’s that piece of something that gives families that little bit to be able to breathe and enjoy their family time.”
Other families received money to pay for doctor’s visits, build a safety fence and buy orthopedic shoes, Koretz said.
To get help
The New Story Fund is accepting nominations for its second round of grants through Aug. 31 at www.newstory.com/about/the-new-story-fund.php.