Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 7, 2013

Ramps to Freedom entreats for volunteers

Tess Rowing
Greensburg Daily News

Columbus — As part of Aging & Community Services of South Central Indiana, Inc., Ramps to Freedom is looking to create a pool of volunteers.

Started last year, Ramps to Freedom is a new service which builds ramps for individuals with physical disabilities.

The program is manned by volunteers who largely come from churches, according to Vickie Bateman, volunteer resource manager.

“We’re looking for churches who would like to be part of this group,” said Bateman.

Ramps to Freedom’s model is based on a Fort Wayne organization, Servants at Work (SAW), a Christian-based institution which provides a similar service to Ramps to Freedom.

Having a church member volunteer base, explained Bateman, provides a large pool of volunteers when a project is in need of people.

Only five ramps have been built thus far, but Ramps to Freedom also wants to know how many people are in need of ramps, and to ascertain why people need them.

“We need a waiting list for people who need the ramps so we can see what the need is,” said Bateman.

The average cost of building materials has been $1,000 to $1,500, according to Bateman. For people who cannot afford the cost of materials, Ramps to Freedom can attempt to find grants for a future project.

Labor is free because the ramps are built by volunteers. These volunteers have been trained, and know how to design the ramp within state code.

For those who can afford the costs upfront, the ramp is capable of being built within a week.

“We can’t guarantee a free ramp,” said Julie Riggs, resource development manager, “but we build ramps for people with conditions from aging, a family with a child with limitations, or the caregivers of people with disabilities.”

Ramps to Freedom is part of the state-run not-for-profit, Aging & Community Services of South Central Indiana, Inc. Aging And Community Services provides a number of services for people with disabilities, including help for people in home care; legal representation for those 18 years and older who are unable to represent themselves; a foster grandparent for children who need extra help in school; meals site locations, which are organized to get people out of the house to socialize; an emergency call system for those who have fallen and can’t get up; affordable housing for hard-working families; and First Steps, an independent organization which gets medical help for families with young children showing symptoms of disabilities.

“We’re a giant umbrella for many other organizations,” said Riggs.

To ask for an application for a ramp, for more information about Aging and Community Services, or to offer donations call 812-372-6918.

Aging and Community Services is located at 1531 13th Street Suite G900, Columbus.

Ramps to Freedom confirmed that residents in Decatur County would receive assistance if needed.

Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7004