RALEIGH, N.C. -- Volunteers are sanding, painting, cutting, and using cardboard to create a unique piece of furniture for a child with disabilities.
- “We’ve done easels, we’ve done chairs, we’ve done stairs, we’ve done cribs. We’ve done a lot of stuff,” explained Jim McAgy, the Executive Director of Made4Me. “And, everything is cardboard.”
- Jim McAgy got this idea from a company in New York. Then he approached his Wake Forest neighbor, John Mainey, about partnering up. The mission, hitting close to home for both men.
- Made4Me is hosting a grand opening on Saturday, November 2 from 1 p.m to 5 p.m. They’re located at 5540 Atlantic Springs Road, Suite 101, Raleigh.
“We’ve done easels, we’ve done chairs, we’ve done stairs, we’ve done cribs. We’ve done a lot of stuff,” explained Jim McAgy, the Executive Director of Made4Me. “And, everything is cardboard.”
And he means everything. “Cardboard is so versatile, it’s so strong and anybody can work with it," said McAgy.
Jim McAgy got this idea from a company in New York. Then he approached his Wake Forest neighbor, John Mainey, about partnering up. The mission, hitting close to home for both men.
“Jim has four children, all adopted, three of them have special needs. They’re on the autism spectrum in some way shape or form,” explained Mainey. “I have a stepson who is on the autism spectrum. So we connect that way, plus when he talked about giving back to the special needs community through this vehicle, it resonated with both of us.”
From there, Made4Me was born in 2017.
The team meets with the child and their therapist to make sure this custom cardboard creation is perfect. "We’ll take 20 different dimensions. From those dimensions, we’ll come back and we’ll build a chair out of raw cardboard. Then two weeks later, we’ll go back and we’ll do a fitting,” explained McAgy. “From that fitting, we’ll sit down and put the child in the piece of equipment and discuss changes, any modifications, anything like that."
Then these volunteers make any corrections, add some paint, and personalize it.
The family receives the finished product free of charge.
“There’s much equipment available for kids, but whether it’s finances, or even just the rules under getting that equipment, they’re unable to get it, or access it,” explained Jennifer Mock, a physical therapist and the Made4Me Board Vice President. “So that fills this niche of being able to provide a service that these kids desperately need.”
And each child has a different need. “Aiden, when we got with him, he has braces on his feet and he needed a chair that he could use that he could put his braces on,” said McAgy. These stories line the walls of Made4Me.
The group recently moved into a 2,400 square foot space, after two and a half years of working in garages. Practically everything inside is made out of cardboard, which is also donated. “Now people have a place to come, we have set hours from nine to three,” said McAgy. “And, people can come five days a week and donate their time.”
“You realize how blessed you are,” explained Mainey. “Jim and I, we’ve had great careers. But to be able to work with a family who has a child, who may not be able to talk, may not be able to walk, may not be able to take care of themselves in any way, shape or form, or if they can, it’s limited. To be able to go and help that family, help that child, just give them a little bit of a respite, or enable them to be more inclusive in school or be able to relax better at home, and make it personal and deliver that to them....It’s indescribable.”
Each piece costs about $300 to $600 dollars to make. The group can also make something for an adult with special needs.
Made4Me is hosting a grand opening on Saturday, November 2 from 1 p.m to 5 p.m. They’re located at 5540 Atlantic Springs Road, Suite 101, Raleigh, NC.