Amber Jones wanted to give her 10-year-old son, Jahkryi Wicker, a new experience.
Jahkryi has Cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, as well as poor vision due to complications with early eye and brain development. For years his mother wanted to purchase an AmTryke, an adaptive tricycle to help with his mobility. She tried to go through insurance and an individual option (IO) waiver, but neither would cover the expense, and fundraising organizations weren't able to raise the needed money.
However, the Kiwanis Club stepped in and was able to provide the necessary assistance.
Several employees of the Muskingum County Board of Developmental Disabilities, who are club members, referred the family's story to the club, as Jaykryi attends Starlight School.
Kiwanis then teamed with five area high school key clubs - West Muskingum, Maysville, Zanesville, Rosecrans and Philo - to raise the $3,000 needed to purchase the AmTryke, which was presented to Jones and Jahkryi on Wednesday at Immanuel Church.
Jones was grateful to all involved for making this possible.
"I've been trying to get an AmTryke so he could enjoy life, hang with his sisters and feel the wind in his hair," Jones said. "He doesn't show a lot of excitement, but his sisters were excited (about him receiving the tryke). They were asking me a lot of questions and couldn't wait to see it when they got home from school.
Jeff Pickett, the Kiwanis president and assistant executive director of the Muskingum Valley Council of Boy Scouts, emphasized the importance of helping out fellow community members.
The club worked with the key clubs in various fundraisers, including the peanut sale, comedy night and the Corporate Pinewood Derby.
"We have given out AmTrykes before so we understand how it can help with exercise and mobility and allow him to play with others," Pickett said. "To see the joy on their faces makes all the work we do worthwhile."
These endeavors are part of why the Kiwanis Club exist, said Pickett, who feels driven to give back.
Pickett grew up in Danville, Illinois. Both of his parents passed away before he was 20, and it was community members there - including Boys Scouts and his church congregation - that stepped up to help him.
"My community was just there. They made sure I had what I needed to do things like apply for college," he said. "That personally impacted me, and I got a lot from them. I want to be able to give back what I can to my community now."