On the 5th day of giving, develop a product for the disabled

December 17, 2012

As Arizona State University gears up to win the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Dec. 29, in San Francisco, the university is taking the opportunity to offer suggestions for 12 Days of Giving in order to make a big difference this season and celebrate the university’s outreach role in the community.

Day 5
Develop a product that benefits disabled individuals. Download Full Image

Imagine being unable to attend work or school, simply because mobility and rugged terrain prohibits you from leaving your front door. A student group, BooGood Bicycles, is seeking to find an end to this problem by providing sustainable hand-cycles made from bamboo to disabled individuals living in Africa.

While an undergraduate student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, Derrick Loud was first introduced to the idea of designing a hand-cycle by a non-profit group called Sustainable Resources, a company that offers start-up assistance to projects and industries that provide basic needs, education or jobs to those in developing countries.

Due to the rough terrain in Malawi, Africa, a 10-year-old boy was not able to maneuver his wheelchair through the roads to his school, inevitably making it impossible for him to receive an education. When Loud heard about this, he was inspired to create a hand-cycle for his senior capstone project that would easily attach to the wheelchair that the boy currently had.

After completing the capstone and having his design sent to Africa, Loud realized that he didn’t want to stop there, but instead make a universal design using sustainable materials that could potentially help those with disability across the developing world. After being accepted into the biomedical engineering master’s program, Loud went about recruiting ASU seniors Kris Saunders and Salim Zeitoun, and BioScience High School senior Doug Liu to join the endeavor.  

With funding, the group is hoping to open a workshop in Kenya where workers will be trained to build the hand-cycles using only bamboo and recycled bikes parts. This, in turn, will provide jobs and stimulate the local economy. And since bamboo is a local and widely available material in Africa, the team will not have to worry about importing or exporting costly building materials.

Implementing their “buy one, build one” model, the BooGood Bicycles team plans to have one hand-cycle built in Africa and donated to someone in need for every bamboo bike they sell here in the United States.

Learn more about BooGood Bicycles.

Natasha Karaczan, natasha.karaczan@asu.edu
Media Relations


Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

Graduate geared up to bring out the best in his middle school students

December 17, 2012

Justin Greathouse sees the potential that his seventh- and eighth-grade students possess, even if they may attend a Title One school in Avondale where many students come from an impoverished background.

Working with the iTeachAZ program for the past two years as he completes his elementary education certification and graduates this December, Greathouse encourages these middle school children to explore their full potential by explaining the benefits of education and ways they can address the educational achievement gap by working hard and earning good grades. Justin Greathouse Download Full Image

“We have frank conversations about the achievement gap and how we can close it by working hard and improving their grades. After having this conversation, most of them have become more motivated to learn. You can literally see the wheels turning in their heads,” Greathouse said. “I’m determined to get them to succeed.”

Students aren’t just hearing this from someone without experience. Greathouse is a product of Title One schools and the first person to graduate from college in his family. He earned his bachelor’s degree and went into a career as a retail manager, but decided to go back to school to earn his elementary education certificate at ASU after talking to people in the teacher preparation program who spoke very highly of it.  

“They would explain to me what they were doing. I thought, ‘this is a program that is clearly preparing them to be in a classroom.’ I really felt that this was quality education,” he said. “I knew we spent two years in the teacher preparation program with a 30 week internship and more than 1,000 hours inside the classroom.”

All of the theories about what comprises good teaching can be thoroughly researched, but until someone sees it in action and how a teacher responds to student success and failure, they haven’t truly experienced teaching, Greathouse said.

“You have to see them and experience them,” he added. “The iTeachAZ program delivers on so many levels.” iTeachAZ is the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College groundbreaking immersion program that provides intensive student teaching experiences and the opportunity to work with a mentor teacher.

Greathouse will put his teaching skills to work for student success after graduation when he starts his new job at Countryside Elementary School in Dysart.

Recognizing the potential in students through academics also translates to sports. Greathouse observed during his iTeachAZ experience how students at his school came together to play flag football with kids from different groups and boys and girls alike. He also saw leadership skills emerge through the game that he hadn’t seen in the classroom.

When he questioned administrators about the sport and why his school didn’t have a program, they said that funding was the primary issue. Greathouse worked to secure funds from local organizations and businesses for start-up costs, helped get the issue before the Avondale Board of Education and now the school is in its first flag football season.

“The board unanimously approved it. We started football a few weeks later,” he said.

Students who play have a definite stake in the bargain since they have to keep their grades up and not have any discipline issues.

“The kids that we wanted to affect the most are some of the ones who made the team. They want to redo assignments and they literally ask you, ‘Was I good today in class?’ It ended up being a very positive thing for the district,” Greathouse said.