By Geena Martinez
ODESSA - It's something we do everyday, but for those with disabilities, it can also be the hardest task. We're talking about walking in and out of your house. Now, a new project coming to West Texas is trying to change that.
The mission of the Able Center in Odessa is helping those with disabilities live an easier and more independent life. The center will be getting some help with that mission when the Texas Ramp Project rolls into town next month.
"You put in a ramp and sometimes people are coming out of their homes for the first time in years," Marilyn Hancock, with the Able Center, said.
It may not seem like much but for many who are disabled, a ramp can be life changing.
"A home can be a prison if you cannot get out of it and sometimes those three or four steps means that someone can't get their wheel chair down those steps," Hancock said.
Hancock says the numbers are going up for people in this situation, especially in rural communities.
"The baby boomers are aging," she said. "We're going to have more disabilities. Disabilities is a part of aging."
But getting a ramp installed can be a task in itself. There are agencies that build ramps for those who need them, but sometimes people don't meet all the requirements to get one.
"They wont build a ramp for mobile homes or they wont build a ramp if the person doesn't own their own home," Hancock said.
That's where the Texas Ramp Project comes in. Starting in Dallas 20 years ago, the project aims to give a wheelchair ramp to anyone who needs it.
It's run completely by volunteers, funded by donations only, and better yet, it's free of charge.
"If someone needs a ramp and can't afford it, then they're going to come and build it," Hancock said.
Most ramps only take half a day to install. Hancock said the need is growing and not just for baby boomers.
"There are many children with disabilities," she said. "In fact, one of the agencies that works solely with children just turned in 17 referrals."
But whether it's children or adults, Hancock said the end result is the same.
"They are just elated," she said. "It just opens up their world."
The first ramp project construction day is scheduled for May 14th in Odessa.
If you'd like to volunteer or if you'd like to donate supplies or even just your time, you can call the Able Center at 432-580-3439.