Dad with impaired mobility can walk his newborn after crafty teens built him a 'wheestroll'
Air 1 News / Twitter and Matt Zigler / YouTube

Three years ago, Jeremy King, 37, of Germantown, Maryland, underwent surgery for a brain tumor. He was able to walk after the procedure but still has some challenges maintaining his balance.

In June 2020, he and his wife, Chelsie, 32, learned they had a child on the way and were concerned whether Jeremy would be able to go on a walk with a newborn.

"Over the last few years we've kind of navigated his new adaptability and last summer when we found that we were expecting that introduced a whole new set of challenges," Chelsie told Today. "Parenting is hard enough, but when you have a physical disability, especially one that is still fairly new ... We immediately started researching things to find ways to make parenting accessible for Jeremy, and honestly we didn't come up with a lot."


Chelsie is a school teacher so she asked fellow educator, Matt Zigler, at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, if he could help.

Zigler teaches a high school class called "Making for Social Good," where students work to create products that have a positive social impact.

High School Students Create Wheelchair Stroller for Teacher's Husband www.youtube.com

"The idea of the course is to start out by trying to understand the problem, so we did interviews with the family," Zigler told "Good Morning America." "We talked to somebody at the local fire department who actually does infant car seat installation training to try to better understand how those things work."

Zigler asked his students to come up with ideas for a wheelchair attachment that could accommodate a car seat and then create 3D models of what they would look like. The students also got to speak with the Kings to learn about their specific challenges.

The students were even more excited about the project because they felt a special connection with the Kings. "It was a good experience to have because we could ask them questions," Ibenka Espinoza, 17, told "Good Morning America." "I think that was the most fun."

The students soon realized that a car seat attachment was only a temporary solution and that they'd need to design something that works for strollers as well. "Children grow and they grow out of a car seat so we wanted Mr. King to be able to walk with his son no matter what age he was," Jacob Zlotnitsky, 18, said.

The students used a 3D printer to make custom parts for the attachment and took several trips to Home Depot for additional materials. They also borrowed a wheelchair from the nurse's office to use as a model.

WheeStroll - Wheelchair Stroller Attachment www.youtube.com

The students finished both attachments in March, just before Chelsie's due date. A few weeks after the birth of their son, Phoenix, they were able to successfully use the car seat attachment to take him on walks.

"Using it was overwhelming because I never thought I would be able to do something like this with our son," Jeremy said. "Most people can go out on a walk with their family but that is really difficult for me — most people take that for granted."

The great thing is that the students' inventions are gifts that will keep on giving. Zigler has made the instructions for building the attachments available to everyone online. "With fairly cheap materials and tools, somebody that's a little bit handy could make these for someone," Zigler said.

"I love the idea that these students got this project and it'll be something long-lasting," Chelsie said. "I know that they'll remember that for years to come, which is all you can hope for as an educator."

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Images via YouTube and Takahiro Kyono

Adam Barrett covers 'God Only Knows' co-written by Brian Wilson

Adam Barrett has been steadily building a fan base on YouTube with his acoustic guitar covers of iconic songs from musicians and bands like The Beatles, The Cure and Oasis.

Last year, Barrett uploaded a cover of The Beach Boys song "God Only Knows," from their iconic Pet Sounds album. It's a song so good that Paul McCartney once called it the "greatest song ever written" and has repeatedly praised it over the years, including in 2007 when he performed the song live with Wilson.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."