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Without the fine motor skills to paint with her hands or any specially adapted equipment, it seemed as if there was no way for Mikayla to help her 7th grade class create a large acrylic painting. Yet, with help from her friends at Nazareth Area Middle School (NAMS) she was able to apply acrylic paint to canvas by using the wheels of her wheelchair.

Together they created an abstract painting featuring a prominent blue circle and were brainstorming some creative title choices including “Circle of Life” and “Wheels of Friendship” (from which we later chose this program’s title). When one student suggested that we turn the painting upside down so the bright yellow orange area in the corner and the blue circle could represent the sun and earth respectively, her classmates loved the idea.

They decided to add continents with decoupage and tissue paper and handprints all around the earth to represent different people. Then, best of all, one student suggested they title their work “Many Friends. One World.” As often as we work with kids, we will never cease to be amazed by their creativity and talent. A roomful of adults could not have created a more magnificent piece of art.

Inspiring kids of all abilities to share the message of inclusion...