A heartwarming story of an Illinois teacher known by the nickname “Ms. Helma” demonstrates her unwavering commitment to ensuring that Maggie Vazquez, a 10-year-old student with cerebral palsy, can go on a two-day hiking excursion. Maggie was carried on Ms. Helma’s shoulders because of her dedication, which made the trip special and inclusive.
When Ms. Helma had to choose whether to bring Maggie on the trip to Camp Sullivan, which was 40 miles distant from their Chicago charter school, Academy of Global Citizenship, it was clear how persistent she was. She thought of other possibilities, but pragmatic considerations hindered them. She learned about the Freeloader, a carrier made for taller children like Maggie, on social media.
Thanks to Ms. Helma’s $300 purchase, ten staff members and over fifty fourth-graders were able to enjoy a camping vacation from May 30 to June 1. Maggie was tough to carry through hard terrain, but her joy and tenacity gave her inspiration.
Maggie’s mother, Michelle Vazquez, praised Ms. Helma for going “way above and beyond” and providing unique experiences. The institution’s executive director, Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, describes Ms. Helma as the “epitome of relentless determination.”