A college student decided to make better use of her time during the pandemic by donating crutches that she personally designed for children in need.
Natali Avshalomov is a senior at Binghamton University and is majoring in human development. While staying at home during the quarantine, she thought of ways to use her free time better. Thus, she started a project that is close to her heart. Inspired by her desire to help kids in need and motivated by her passion for arts and crafts, and healthcare, she created specially designed crutches for kids.
Donations help her make the worthwhile project possible
Avshalomov bought pediatric crutches and supplies from the money raised through the Walking on Sunshine campaign that she organized. The crutches come in different heights for different ages. The crutches can be used for a variety of reasons and purposes as well - temporary or long-term term. "It can be something as simple as a broken bone," she told GMA, "but it can also range from genetic disorders," such as a child missing a limb or cannot walk.
Avshalomov then decorates them with unique designs before sending them out to be donated to kids in vulnerable populations with the help of the Children of War Foundation. The foundation helps her locate the locations where the crutches are needed and when. Twenty pairs of these crutches have so far been donated to children in need in hospitals and orphanages across California.
View this post on Instagram️ALMOST DONE️ last batch to spray tomorrow!! This has been my summer love ️ A post shared by Walking On Sunshine Project (@walkingonsunshineproj) on Jul 1, 2020 at 5:23pm PDT
View this post on InstagramJust got this picture of one the kids from The Loving Hands Children’s Orphanage ️ #fullcircle#thewalkingonsunshineproject A post shared by Walking On Sunshine Project (@walkingonsunshineproj) on Aug 27, 2020 at 4:09pm PDT
View this post on InstagramJUST DROPPED THESE OFF!!!! Walking on Sunshine Summer Project is officially over to be continued in the Winter! These will be distributed based on need to organizations in LA with the help of @childrenofwarfoundation ️ A post shared by Walking On Sunshine Project (@walkingonsunshineproj) on Jul 21, 2020 at 6:43pm PDT
To create the lovely designs, Avshalomov would either sketch the ideas, brainstorm it, or just go for it right away. She does dedicate time and effort to each pair of crutches, judging from the fact that she would sometimes spend up to three hours on decorating and putting all the details for just one crutch.
Crutches as an accessory and not a burden
As to why she thought of decorating the crutches first before donating them, she said that she wanted the kids to not think of the crutches as a burden but more of a present that they can be excited about. She said she wanted the kids to think of the crutches as an accessory instead of just something they have to carry around to be mobile.
To be dependent on crutches as a child sure has its certain drawbacks, Avshalomov said. With her project, she wanted to put a smile on the child's face while they are dealing with the circumstances.
"It just makes me feel better," she told Spectrum News 1 to help people that don't have the same opportunities. If not for medical donation, these children will not crutches they would need, she added.
One does not need to start a new organization or even have a knack for arts, she said, only the drive to do something and then go for it.
Avshalomov hopes to have a career in orthopedics or podiatry one day. And when that time comes, she wants to decorate her patient's casts with jewels, sparkles, and other unique designs as what is doing with the crutches now.
She plans to make Walking on Sunshine a bi-annual project, every Winter and Summer seasons. To donate, visit her GoFundMe page here.
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