Local students pitch in to help students with disabilities

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A group of Canisius High School students embarked on a service trip last summer. It impacted their lives in a major way. They volunteered with students at one of the Heritage Center locations and left with a call to action.

“The school inspired us so much. We knew we wanted to do more right afterwards,” Matt Taboni, a junior at Canisius said.

Heritage Centers provide programs and services for people with developmental disabilities. At the Maryvale location in Cheektowaga, they serve 160 students.

After Taboni, Tim Armstrong, and their classmates worked with the students, they knew they wanted to build them a new playground.

“We saw them playing on the playground that they have now and we were like this is kind of awful. We wanted to do more. So we came up with the idea,” Armstrong, a junior at Canisius High School said.

The teens created a proposal and got price estimates. Then they presented it to the executives at Heritage Centers.

“There’s so much potential there. We just wanted to do something to give them a chance to go out there and really have a good time,” Armstrong said.

To their surprise, Heritage Centers is already working on constructing an ADA compliant, handicap accessible playground. Therefore, instead of starting from scratch, the students are pitching in. They are holding a gala at the Maryvale location on Friday, April 8 from 6-10p.m. to try to raise three thousand dollars for the project.

If Heritage Centers reach the $250 thousand fundraising goal soon, they plan on breaking ground on the project this summer.

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