teaching children about disabilities
What a wonderful story. Teaching and inspiring children to learn about differences, and equally important about what all of us as human beings share is such a valuable life lesson. Each of us, no matter our origin, our color of skin, our religion, our economic status, our mode of doing things has a desire to be included, valued, respected and loved.
Eiizabeth and Steve Wampler share this message with humor, genuineness and passion. They are among the truly incredible people who I had the fortune to get to know through my work with the ReelAbilities Film Festival. Steve uses a wheelchair because of having cerebral palsy. It is but one characteristic that you will notice about him, but what I notice first is his huge smile that lights up a room. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have such infectious warmth that radiates from them and when
they laugh you can’t help but laugh along with them.
The reason they were in Cincinnati is because we were showcasing the documentary film about Steve journey as the only person with a disability to have ever climbed the magnificent El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. At twice the height of the Empire State Building, it took Steve 20,000 pull ups over 6 days, sleeping on the sheer face of the mountain and over-coming enormous fear to accomplish this monumental task (with his team).
Recently, Elizabeth shared this photo with friends and this story to go with it:
“Yesterday at the mall, this darling boy came up to us with his mom, and had some questions about Steve and his wheelchair.
That was wonderful, but what struck me was just how incredible his mom was. She was really brave, and asked her child if he
had any questions about Steve or his chair. It was brilliant. Steve answered questions until he seemed satisfied, and then they
went on a tiny little impromptu ride in a circle. I wish everyone was brave like this little man, it was just great all around! He is
SO young, but had a really pleasant experience, and got a head start at being comfy around people with disabilities.
Way to go, little man!”
– Elizabeth Wampler
Way to go Elizabeth and Steve for giving that little man an experience that will impact the way he sees people for the rest of his life!
About the Stephen J. Wampler Foundation
The Stephen J. Wampler Foundation’s mission is to make adventure programs accessible to all children, regardless of their background or ability. To provide outdoor adventure and environmental programs that foster their social and emotional growth, physical rehabilitation and environmental awareness for children with physical disabilities.