Six-year-old Abenezer has got a new swagger about him as he moves through the school hallways this week — thanks to a community who banded together to give him a new wheelchair.
Anyone who steps inside Abenezer's kindergarten classroom at Ashburton Elementary in Montgomery County will find it hard not to notice his infectious smile.
The reason behind the extra sparkle he has this week? Newfound freedom from a new set of wheels.
Abenezer has cerebral palsy. Like many kids, he’s growing fast, but his old chair was a hand-me-down. It was too small and hard to maneuver.
And after a trip to the bathroom, his one-on-one paraeducator Itai Bezherano knew it was time for an upgrade.
"There was somebody else’s name on the back of the chair, and to me, it just didn’t sit right. It was something I couldn't really get out of my mind," Bezherano said.
Such chairs are expensive, so a fundraiser was started to help cover some of the costs. Less than 24 hours later, there was enough money to buy Abenezer a new chair. His classmates even helped celebrate the big reveal last week.
"He’s very happy with it," Abenezer's dad Yosef said. "He's excited, it’s a big seat so he can move around with it. It's very comfortable."
If Yosef didn’t know how much his son meant to this community and this first-year paraeducator, he does now.
"We are so grateful," Yosef said. He said his son has more freedom to move around and is now more confident in the classroom.
The new chair is expected to last for four to five years.