302901_324759060984830_1395739931_nIn Bronx, NYC, an awesome non-profit was founded 2 years ago, Wheeling Forward, and it’s all about bringing real world help to people with spinal cord injuries. Wheelchair donations, legal help, urban outings, scholarships; they give what’s really needed.

And with such a practical mission, it should come as no surprise that Wheeling Forward was founded by two guys with a spinal cord injury – Yannick Benjamin, a paraplegic from NYC, and Alex Elegudin, a quadriplegic from NYC. The two met in rehab at Mt. Siani Hospital 10 years ago and they instantly bonded, but their non-profit didn’t happen right away.

It took a number of years post-discharge for them to realize their non-profit was needed, but when it happened, it’s exploded. Wheeling Forward is growing quick. The two both come from interesting backgrounds; Alex is a patent attorney and Yannick is a sommelier (a wine expert, voted one of the 10 best sommeliers in the country in 2007). With some rockin’ contacts between the both of them, it’s no wonder the programs they provide are totally awesome.

One of their most popular programs is their “Wheelchair Giving Program,” where they loan folks a manual or power chair if they can’t get one through insurance (this can sadly still happen, even with severe disabilities) for as long as they need it. Obviously they get them permanently in many cases.

And another brilliant program they offer is their legal referral and self-advocacy service, where they help people who’ve been denied PCA services, equipment, housing and everything else shibby that can happen to us. Love this. They also have a scholarship fund set-up exclusively with Baruch College, a school in NYC, where they will pay partial to full tuition.

“Urban Outings” is another program, providing those awesome chairing activities you’ve always wanted to try, like sit waterskiing, to just planning events on the town helping people socialize and be comfortable in public. I would love to go out to a Knick’s game with these games like whoa.

And perhaps one of the cooler programs they provide is wine tasting classes for people with disabilities, helping them understand the finer points of wine in relation to food, and everything else that’s great about wine. They call it their “Wine on Wheels” seminar series and Yannick himself teaches it. Learn more about here

It’s hard to set-up any foundation, let one as varied as this. Wheeling Forward of course is just one of many doing their part in making the world a better place. I’m just glad they chose NYC. It’s nice getting a helping hand in such a crazy big city.

Visit their site: Wheeling Forward

Have you been helped by Wheeling Forward?