For the past few years, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church has sponsored a long-term wheelchair ministry program called RICD Wheelchair Project in Chiang Mai, Thailand led by Joey and Jasmine Tell. Jasmine Tell is originally from Parker.
The Tell family visits Mt. Olive on an annual basis to provide updates on their program needs and accomplishments.
In 2016, the program delivered and fit their 10,000th wheel chair. Aside from the wheelchair ministry, Joey and Jasmine Tell have also joined with Joni and Friends and sponsored an annual Family Retreat Camp for individuals with disabilities and their families.
In October 2016, when the Tell Family was presenting at an early morning serve at Mt. Olive, Catie Sondrol’s interest was piqued in the work that was being done on the other side of the world. Sondrol by trade is a pediatric occupational therapist at Milemarkers Therapy and she said she felt her skill set could be used to assist the ministry program. In August 2017, with the monetary and prayer support from Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and friends and family, Josh and Catie Sondrol traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand to utilize their talents.
They participated in the Family Retreat Camp for individuals with disabilities and their families. The disabilities ranged from cerebral palsy to cognitive delays to Autism to Down’s Syndrome. The goal of the camp was to provide respite and pampering to the families, interaction and engagement in activities for the individuals with disabilities, and therapy services.
In Thailand, individuals with disabilities are not generalized into the public and don’t attend school, according to Catie Sondrol. For many who attended the camp it was their first time being accepted by individuals outside of their family. Catie Sondrol provided therapy services and education to the families who don’t receive therapy on a regular basis. Josh Sondrol assisted with group projects.
In addition to volunteering at the camp, the Sondrols then collected donations to pay for the camp environment to be made handicap accessible and pay for toys for engagements and interaction at the camp.
Catie Sondrol received a donation of 10 communication devices for individuals who cannot talk. The devices were distributed to a local hospital and a foundation that provides a weekly social group.
When the Sondrols were asked if they would attend again, they said without a doubt.
There are many ways to support the RICD Wheelchair Project with donations of medical equipment (wheelchairs, walkers, bathing chairs, showering chairs, toileting chairs). Used equipment also is accepted. For more information about donating medical equipment, contact Catie Sondrol at 928-208-6036.