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Interfaith teenagers participated in Ramp It Up project in Binghamton

Youth and teenagers representing local Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Unitarian Universalist congregations participated on August 22 in the building of a wheelchair ramp on Walnut Street in Binghamton, the home of a wheelchair-bound person in need of a ramp.

The occasion was the first interfaith Ramp It Up build, which are often sponsored by a congregation or other teen group. The teenagers came together to work cooperatively in order to provide greater independence to the recipient. Several participants from the local BBYO chapter worked throughout the day, along with BBYO co-advisor and parent Linda Salomons.

The project was sponsored by Ramp It Up of the Broome County Council of Churches and the Children of Abraham. Children of Abraham is a local organization that sponsors events to strengthen relationships among Jews, Christians, Muslims and Unitarian Universalists. Children of Abraham has sponsored interfaith events in synagogues, churches and a mosque throughout the past seven years. This was its first interfaith youth event. Organizers expressed their thanks to Joan Goodell, who coordinated the project through Children of Abraham.

Throughout the day, Ramp It Up volunteers were needed to pick up heavy pieces of the ramp wood frame and place them where they were going at the home.

As the ramp was assembled, many of the teenage and adult volunteers had to brainstorm fixes to part of the project that needed to be altered due to the uneven ground at the site.

The Broome County Council of Churches’ Ramp It Up Youth Mentoring Initiative is a volunteer mission created to promote service learning and community involvement for youth. The initiative pairs teams of youth and adult mentors drawn from congregations and community organizations to build wheelchair ramps for homebound residents of Broome County. Residents in need are provided easier home access, while the participants learn “teamwork, community involvement and pride, along with a basic knowledge of carpentry skills,” according to program organizers.

For more information about Children of Abraham, contact Rabbi Barbara Goldman-Wartell at rabbigoldmanwartell@gmail.com. For more information about the Ramp It Up program, contact Ron Wenzinger at the Broome County Council of Churches at 724-9130.

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