Faculty coordinators Steve Oelschlager and Lissa Leigh, top left, with some of the student participants in the Healing Spaces Club.
Student volunteers make 'Healing Space'
for high school senior
Each year, De La Salle and Carondelet High School students work together to perform an interior "home renovation" for a client in need. The students band together as "The Healing Spaces Club" to raise funds and perform the sweat necessary needed to transform a room for a needy or suffering client.
This year, the client was Christian, an 18-year-old high school senior from Clayton who suffers from Spinal Macular Atrophy. SMA is a disease that robs the sufferer of physical strength by affecting the nerve cells in the spinal cord, taking away the ability to walk, eat or even breathe. Christian is in a wheelchair, and although his physical condition is limited, his spirit and enthusiasm for life is boundless.
This year, the club of more than 100 students raised in excess of $9,500 toward the make-over for Christian and his family.
On April 16, the Healing Spaces Club performed the home transformation, with direction from Interior Designer Sharon Gerlach of the design firm, My Two Designers, and De La Salle faculty coordinators Steve Oelschlager and Lissa Leigh.
"This group of students was particularly committed to helping Christian. Perhaps the fact that Christian is also a high school student may have led to a deep appreciation for how life would be different if limited to a wheelchair," Oelschlager said.
Under the supervision of Eddie Perez of E. Perez and Co., students received instruction in how to properly paint a room and hang wallpaper. Upon arriving home, Christian found his room transformed with: new wallpaper, a paint job, custom shelving, a new bed, large screen TV, computer, rug and numerous art pieces that reflected his love of super heroes.
Christian's brother's room was also spruced up with new paint, rugs, window covering and art pieces.
Outside, students worked on the deck of the house hanging new planter boxes, planting an herb garden and capping the effort by raising a new American flag on the roof of the structure.
Christian and his family were overwhelmed. Christian's mother Linda remarked, "We were speechless by what we found when we came home. The results of the renovation were far beyond any expectations we had. It is so beautiful!"
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