By Sandra Alfonzo at Adapt Ability
For all the years that I had lived in Brooklyn, I never sat in the park to look at people. But because I run in the opposite direction in the park that allows me to see people’s reactions and moods while they walk, run, talk, eat, etc. Exactly 5 years and 6 months ago I had the opportunity to see the something that changed my life forever.
I witnessed a special needs child on a wheelchair watching, longingly, another child riding a bike.
The reactions of both kids were so different and emotional that I knew I had to do something to change how that child in the wheelchair felt. That was how Adapt Ability was born.
Adapt Ability is an organization that provides children with special needs the opportunity to exercise while obtaining or improving their mobility and muscle strength, while experiencing the outdoors in a completely different way – riding an adaptive bicycle.
Mobility is the ability to move or be moved freely and easily. Adapt Ability provides a custom, adaptive bicycle to children with special needs, allowing them to have the ability to move freely by themselves or with the assistance of an caregiver (using a push bar).
At Adapt Ability, we believe that advocating for the importance of mobility, and providing information and resources for different disability types – including how an adaptive bicycle can change the lives of children – is a way to give back to our community.
The opportunity to obtain, improve or gain mobility will allow children with disabilities to acquire motor-coordination, agility, self-esteem, the ability to feel like any other child, and the freedom that we all get when we ride a bicycle. We had encountered a lot of other factors that children with special needs go through, and riding a bicycle had helped them either reduce or overcome those obstacles. We believe bicycles can change the world in many ways and this is one of them.
Our organization has 5 different programs that will allow every individual with a disability to find a program that will help them obtain the mobility necessary to improve their quality of life.
We help the environment with the recycling of both child and adult bicycles, so that every bicycle will become an adaptive bicycle for a child or adult with disabilities. Every customization is handmade in our facilities at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.
One of our main programs is AA 4Schools; we provide free adaptive bicycles in schools for the purpose of exercise, therapy, and a fun day at school. Participating schools use our bicycles as therapeutic instruments to help children obtain mobility, self-esteem, mental support, strength, and to reinforce that a bike is for every kid. Bikes for all.
Our doors at Adapt Ability are always open to suggestions, volunteer work, and further information about what we do… giving a smile to a child.
AdaptAbility is the brainchild of bicycle store owner Sandra Alfonzo. They work with parents, teachers, physical therapists, nurses, and doctors to identify children with special needs that can take advantage of an adaptive bicycle as a source of exercise, therapeutic and for the simple desire to ride and have fun on a bicycle.