OSWEGO – ARISE revved up its Ride for Ramps program in Saturday.
In honor of the 25th year of the ADA proclamation, members of ARISE and a slew of volunteers hosted a fundraiser with assistance from Lighthouse Lanes and Oswego Speedway. More than 100 motorcycle enthusiasts joined in to help raise funds for the ramps program.
“It is the only program in the state of New York like this,” said James Karasek of ARISE. “More and more the program grows. We have a new element this year. When people go into nursing homes, hospitals, they go to rehab, on their discharge papers, because of the change in the medical law, if the patient goes back within 30 days for the same condition, they don’t have to pay the hospital. Now they are putting on their discharge papers, may be discharged upon accessible access to home environment.”
ARISE has already installed two ramps this year.
“People were stuck in rehab centers where all they were doing was feeding them and bathing them, checking on them every day doing their vitals. But they weren’t doing anything for them as far as services, Karasek said. “Some of these centers cost as much as $500 a day. Most of these are Medicaid. Guess who pays part of that bill? We do. That’s our ownership of it.”
They have an aluminum ramp that was just returned. They are going to get it cleaned up and install it for a lady that has been waiting three weeks to come home, he said.
The ramp program is very important, he told all the riders before they headed out.
“So, if you have a dollar left in your pocket when you get back – I’m going to come and get it. Because, I am going to build ramps in this county one way or another,” he added. “I have a phenomenal group of people helping me. And, to the ones that have been here every year, God bless you!”
ARISE presented two awards. David Lepage, president of G&C Foods, was recognized for his support. His company donated $20,000 to the ramp program. Jeff Grimshaw, of SUNY Oswego, was cited for helping to build a great collaboration with a company that’s donating all the hardware for every ramp the group builds this year. And, students at CiTi are building ramp sections as part of their course work; as well as taking down old ramps and moving them as well as building new ramps.
“On behalf of those of us who have ramps and will have ramps, I want to say thank you very much for your generosity,” one lady told the large crowd. “It is greatly appreciated.”
Jason Noyes, who started the ride event seven years ago. He thanked the nearly 80 motorcycle riders who showed up for Saturday’s event.
“We started with just a handful of riders.Now, it’s grown into this monster,” he said. “Thank you. Enjoy the ride and be safe! We’ll see you in 40 miles.”
“Five years ago, I cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for six bikes. Look where we are today. You all are just amazing,” Karasek added.
The ARISE ramp program was started at the First United Methodist Church in Oswego to take care of the needs of those that required a ramp for safe entry and exit from their home.
As the program grew, First United partnered with ARISE to meet the growing requests that were coming in.
“In our county, the only avenue to get a ramp, if you could not afford one, was by the veterans’ program, through OPWDD or if you had a local organization that built one for you,” Karasek told Oswego County Today. “As our population grows, our need for proper accessibility grows and the need is times overwhelming.”
ARISE ramps is one of a kind program in New York State.
Through the generosity of donors, ARISE funds the purchase of materials and then the process shifts back to the original start of the program.
The First United Methodist Church has turned part of the basement into a work shop that constructs the ramp sections.
More Volunteers Sought
“ARISE does the intake process, draws the plans and assembles the volunteers for the ramp build. The ramp then is assembled in schedule with the volunteers availability. We sometimes have company teams that come together for a volunteer day, a team building exercise, or just for the concept of returning to the community. We welcome each of these teams. Want to build a ramp?” Karasek said.
The Ride for Ramps is the annual fundraiser for the program.
“We had 75 motorcycles take part in departing Lighthouse lanes and six more joined us later on the ride for a total of 81. There was a 5K run and time slot for kids to ride their bikes on the Speedway track. The meal was a choice of a chicken BBQ or pulled pork. There were activities for the kids that included two bounce houses, games and meeting the city of Oswego Fire Department. For the adults there was a cake wheel, raffles and a lot of friends running into friends and enjoying the afternoon,” Karasek said
“The rain held off, for the most part and we were able to raise some money. The ARISE staff had a great time meeting everyone and we made a little money and can build a few more ramps this year. Win, win all the way around,” he added. “The rejoining of those with a disability with the community is an amazing moment. Taking people out of rehabilitation facilities or keeping them from going into nursing/long-term care is not only the right thing to do but is a win/win for them and the community they live in. Independent living is about being able to make your own choices; where to shop, where to go to church and what foods do you get that you like and on and on. We care about our friends and neighbors with special needs. And, we are willing to take that extra step for them.”
For further information about ARISE, contact Karasek at 315-342-4088 x206 or [email protected]
ARISE is a non-profit Independent Living Center run by and for people with disabilities.
The organization has been providing advocacy and services since 1979.
Each year ARISE works with approximately 4,000 people of all ages who have all types of disabilities.
ARISE has offices in Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Cayuga, and Seneca counties and operates ARISE at the Farm, a 77-acre recreational facility in Chittenango, and ARISE and Ski at Toggenburg Winter Sports Center in Fabius.