NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A local architectural designer is on a mission to make homes more accessible for families who have children with special needs.
Sunny Rosanbalm said a disability isn’t the problem – it’s accessibility that’s the problem.
“I know how it is to live with a family member that loves a child that they are caring for, and so I know the everyday stresses of that. But, I also know the joy that it is to have a special needs child through my own grandson, Tucker,” Rosanbalm said.
Soon after Tucker was born with cerebral palsy, Rosanbalm witnessed the strain of having to lift and transfer him put on her daughter-in-law since their home was not set-up for his disability.
“These families can lift and transfer these children between 5,000 and 8,000 times a year, and that equates to most assuredly injuries to these parents,” she said.
Soon Rosanbalm made relief her mission and she began Tucker’s House in honor of her grandson in 2009.
“The changes that we make are not only for these children, but for all of the caregivers that care for these children because there are quite often a whole legion of people that are caring for this child, so it is making a difference for a lot of people to be able to make these changes,” she said.
Carrington Carter is just one of the people she has helped through the non-profit organization.
In 2012, the Centennial High School graduate was in a car accident that left him a quadriplegic. With the help of local businesses, builders and Tucker’s House, adjustments were made to his family’s home.
“We added on a space to be able to make a wheelchair accessible bathroom. We put in flooring, took out carpeting, and put in solid flooring so he could operate his wheelchair,” Rosanbalm said.
Carter said he is grateful for the changes made to his family’s home.
“It’s made it easier to get around, not just for me, but for everyone that helps me in here. I can do stuff more by myself than have to ask other people,” he said.
Carter continued, “It means a lot. It shows they care. A lot of people don’t care about other people, with all of the bad things going on, it’s a nice thing to see.”
Rosanbalm said there is an enormous and never-ending
“They really need their home to be a place of refuge because that’s where they spend a lot of their time. Every single one of these children when I walk away from that, every single one of them are embedded in my heart,” she said.
Rosanbalm said the community involvement in her non-profit has been huge. Been There, Dump That donates a dumpster for each project. Hiller Plumbing, Heating and Electrical and other local builders all help keep costs down.
Click here for more information on Tucker’s House.