On Sept. 26, more than 30 ACCESS Network members from Bayer, along with more than 200 other volunteers from local businesses, participated in Paraquad’s annual Ramp Up for Accessibility Day to build accessible ramps at the homes of people with disabilities in the St. Louis area.
Since the inception Ramp Day five years ago, Paraquad has helped 70 local residents with their accessibility needs as part of this event. On this single-day event in 2018, Kevin Condon, Paraquad’s Director of Development and Marketing said, “Twenty people had barriers to independence removed, had homes made safer and more beautiful, and experienced the support of a community that believes in equal access and opportunity for people with disabilities.”
This year, two Bayer volunteers shared that their own families have benefited from Paraquad’s Ramp Up for Accessibility Day in past years.
“My mom is 95 years old and still lives in her home. Two years ago, Paraquad and Home Depot completed some updates to my mom’s home to make ‘everyday’ activities easier and safer for her. They spent a lot of time with her to determine what improvements they could make specifically for her. Things as simple as moving handles on her cabinets so she could reach them with ease, new door handles, updated faucets in the kitchen and bathroom, handrails and work completed in her bathroom. The volunteers were awesome from both organizations. My mom is a very social person, and the group adapted to that very well. It was such a great experience for her. She still talks about the experience today. Seeing what this positive experience did for my mom encouraged me to want to help someone else in our community.” —Jeanne Schreiber, Bayer Cotton Traits Specialist
Another employee shared the experience from her family’s perspective.
“This was an awesome experience—to be able to help someone be able to stay in their home and make their life a little simpler by removing obstacles is such an experience. My family has personally benefited from the experts at Paraquad and Home Depot. Three years ago, they completed work at my (91-year-old) mom’s house. These updates included the addition of handrails, safety bars, new lever door handles and new lever faucets, which have kept her safe in her home and have given her an ease of doing simple tasks in her own home. These simple updates made a very positive impact on her daily life.” —Diane Husk, Bayer Operations Manager
The ACCESS Network is proud to be a supporter, both as a sponsor and with volunteers, since Ramp Day’s beginning in 2013. The ACCESS Network is very appreciative of the support and sponsorship provided by Oscar Berryman, Director of Corporate Services, and the leadership of Damon Andrew, Bayer Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) St. Louis Site Lead, who coordinates Bayer’s involvement.
Bayer also has employees who have volunteered each of the past five years, like Matt Hamilton, Live Events Lead.
“You and the (volunteer) team get to walk away at the end of Ramp Day with some tangible results that helps one see that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life! It is truly appreciated by so many,” he said.
Leading up to Ramp Up for Accessibility Day, Paraquad works behind the scenes to identify potential construction sites and secure necessary permits and permission. And thanks to the work of dedicated volunteers, people with disabilities have safer access to their homes and the independence to have jobs, participate in activities and enjoy freedom of movement.
As one Paraquad employee summarized, “We had a great group to work with from Bayer and Home Depot. Love meeting new people! It was a great experience, and we were so lucky to have such a beautiful day! Thanks for making this possible for us to have this experience!”
Brenda Cockrell is the Global Supplier Diversity and Procurement Sustainability Lead at Bayer. ACCESS is a Bayer business resource network that helps to advocate for employees, family members, customers and community members who may have visible or invisible disabilities.