Students build custom sandbox for boy in wheelchair

Posted at 4:52 PM, May 14, 2019

MIDDLEVILLE. Mich. — Wood shop students at Thornapple Kellogg High School went the extra mile for an elementary student in need.

After a bad crash last year, 6-year-old Nate Boresma hasn't been able to enjoy the one thing on the playground he loves: the sandbox. The high school wood shop students wanted to change that, and made a specialized sandbox just for him.

It was a part of a service day project at the beginning of the month. A dozen students came together to make two standing sandboxes that Nate can access from his wheelchair.

"One of Nate's teacher's let us know that he was kind of looking for a sandbox, and the week before Lowes donated a bunch of the material so it all just came together like the perfect storm of goodness," says Matt Melvin, Thornapple Kellogg High School wood shop teacher who encouraged his students to do the project.

Students made the project in just a couple of hours with materials donated from Lowe's before delivering it to the classroom.

The moment that Nate was able to play in the sandbox was a special one.

"When I first saw him whenever he was just playing with the sandbox, it was just — I thought it was going to bring tears to his eyes," said sophomore Andrew Ricco.

"I was really excited for Nate," added Mike Vandenberg, a Kent Intermediate School District physical therapist who works with Nate. "I was really proud of the high school class and the kids that put it together but then to see Nate come out here and get by that table and to see the sand in it and to see that he could play in a sandbox it was heart wrenching. I mean it bought tears to our eyes.

The class made two sandboxes, sending the extra one home with Nate.