Here at NYC Ferry, we’re celebrating Women’s History Month all month long. While we reflect on the trailblazing women in history who paved the way, we also honor the leaders who are making a positive impact on our communities today.
We spoke with Sandra Alfonzo, the founder of the non-profit Adapt Ability, about how she is making a difference in her community. Learn more about Adapt Ability and how you can support this woman-founded organization.
Tell us about your organization.
Adapt Ability is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to customize adaptive bicycles for children with special needs, allowing them to exercise and to improve mobility while giving them the opportunity to experience the pleasure of riding a bicycle. Each bicycle is tailored to the child’s challenges and goals. Adapt Ability bicycles are donated to families free of charge, allowing them to increase their quality of life. Adapt Ability has created programs like Adapt Ability 4Ride (free rental of adaptive bicycles) for adults and children and Adapt Ability Free Bicycles for Kids (refurbishing used children’s bicycles).
What inspired you to create this organization?
I witnessed a special-needs child in a wheelchair watching, longingly, another child riding a bike. I knew I had to do something to change how that child in the wheelchair felt. After a lot of research and sleepless nights, Adapt Ability was born. Our inspiration will provide children with special needs and adults with disabilities with an adaptive bicycle that will be fitted and customized for their unique needs.
How has Adapt Ability impacted the community?
Adapt Ability has impacted the community in different ways. We have donated 16 custom children adaptive bicycles ($1500-6,000 price range of each bicycle) and 2 custom adults adaptive bicycles ($4,000-7,000 price range of each bicycle). We have rented more than 600 hours of adaptive bicycle rentals free of charge. We have donated time to schools and afterschool programs. We have offered free children classes like Learn how to ride a bicycle and crafts (using bicycle parts). We advocate for the disability community and cycling community. We created a Podcast “Disability Humility” that provides information on important subjects related to the disability community. We donate time and equipment to our community and other communities in need.
Families with special needs children are being forced to sacrifice many things so that they can afford one in order to do outside activities together. Our mission is to bring families together while they exercise and increase family quality time. Exercise through bicycle riding can change not only one household but a whole community.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to start their own organization?
The advice that we can share is to follow your heart, be unique in what you do, and believe in your mission and goal. Work hard and never stop believing in yourself and your dreams.
How can people volunteer or donate?
Anyone can become a volunteer by reaching out to us online or by calling (718) 715-4111. Donating is very easy. You can go to our website, send via mail, or drop off by person.