The Sky's the Limit Despite Physical Disabilities

NY Times LogoGarden City, NY; January 6, 2009 – To campers at the Children's Aid Society's Wagon Road Camp, 17-year-old Naeelah Murray is just another assistant counselor – someone to look up to and someone to turn to for help, guidance, and encouragement. But Naeelah Murray of the Bronx is not your typical camp counselor. Confined to a wheelchair, Naeelah is blind and suffers from cerebral palsy.

Vince Canziani, Wagon Road's Camp Director, was as unsure about the kind of impact Naeelah would have on working with the campers at the Chappaqua, N.Y. camp as Naeelah was about trying. But once the campers got to know her, understand her situation, and see how her hard work and determination led to a leadership role despite her physical disabilities, they accepted her and looked beyond her handicaps.

With financial assistance from the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund and the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation to cover the cost of transportation and paraprofessional services, Naeelah was given the unique opportunity to show both able-bodied and physically disabled campers how disabilities need not stand in the way of achieving one’s goals.

The New York Times featured Naeelah in their December 19, 2008 edition. Click here to read the article: NAEELLAH MURRAY