CALABASAS, Calif. – One college student is using her new free time during the coronavirus pandemic to give back to children in need. She started the Walking on Sunshine Project to decorate and donate crutches to non-profit organizations.
Cheetah spots add fun and flair to a typically plain piece of medical equipment. Rising senior Natali Avshalomov loves DIY projects where she can re-create items like jeans or picture frames, but in this case it’s crutches.
“It sometimes takes three hours,” said Avshalomov.
While Avshalomov is home during the coronavirus pandemic, she decided to take her creativity and pair it with her passion for giving back.
“It just makes me feel better that I’m helping other people that don’t have the same opportunities,” said Avshalomov.
Avshalomov says she is lucky to be in the position to use this time at home to volunteer, but with COVID health requirements in place to stay safe, there weren’t as many opportunities, so she created her own.
“You don’t have to start from a whole organization or being artistic. You have to have the drive to do something and just do it,” said Avshalomov.
The Walking on Sunshine Project was born back in March. Avshalomov received donations from friends and family to purchase crutches, design them, and donate the finished project to Children of War a foundation that delivers access to health care, medical education, and more to children impacted by poverty and war. For example, to those who may have genetic conditions inhibiting their ability to walk, but may not have the funds to purchase the proper equipment.
“So, these children otherwise, if it was not for the medical donation, would not get the crutches they would need. It helps a kid gain their mobility and better their childhood with this project, so I think it has a lot of meaning to it,” said Avshalomov.
There’s a meaning to crutches too. The college senior hopes to have a career orthopedics or podiatry. She always thought she would bedazzle her patients’ casts in the future, so this is a way to do something similar now.
“Think of it more of an accessory as opposed to a burden. That’s why I want to make them customized, special, and unique,” said Avshalomov.
A unique way to give back with this new-found free time that she hopes inspires others to do the same. In the future, Avshalomov hopes to use donated crutches, instead of purchasing them. She plans to continue this every summer and w
inter when she is home from school.