Ms. Helma and Maggie's SPED Fund

Ms. Helma and Maggie went on a hike recently, and their unconventional approach is making headlines!

"We didn’t think twice about doing this for Maggie. It’s ingrained in the culture of our school to help each other and to help make the world a better place."

My colleague, and the Academy for Global Citizenship's  Director of Student Services, Helma Wardenaar, went above and beyond to make sure that a student who uses a walker would have the same awe-inspiring experience as her peers during a 45-minute hike during our annual 4th-grade camping trip. Helma carried 10-year-old Maggie Vasquez on her back for the entire 45-minute hike using a child-carrying harness called the Freeloader. (Visit for a 5% discount and 5% back to AGC, thanks to the generous people at My Freeloader.)

After a post on a private Facebook page got 10,000 likes, local news stations reached out to interview Ms. Helma about her creative solution. 

As a founding AGC teacher, Ms. Helma is a leader in our sustainable and collaborative school culture and a constant advocate to help every student access opportunities around our city and our world.

We are asking for your help to support the cost of the harness and additional services for our Diverse Learners. 

As Ms. Helma said "We need to be creative sometimes. We are a public school in a low-income community. The reality of our special education program is that it costs more than what we receive from the district." 

If you were inspired by Helma's story, please help support her work. 

Every dollar raised will go to Ms. Helma's Special Education department to support the cost of the special harness and other equipment that makes it possible for students like Maggie to fully participate in our unique school programming. 

Learn more at

Read Maggie and Helma's story online at:
Love What Matters:

CBS Chicago:

Thank you! 

  • Binyam Philipos  
    • $25 
    • 41 mos
  • John Stack 
    • $20 
    • 48 mos
  • Brandon Hayes 
    • $24 
    • 48 mos
  • Nathan Rivera 
    • $10 
    • 48 mos
  • Julie Siegfried 
    • $50 
    • 49 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Team Helma (4)

Katherine Elmer-DeWitt 
Raised $25 from 1 donation
Chicago, IL
Academy for Global Citizenship Charter School 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Joachim Beckmann 
Team member
Raised $20 from 1 donation
Harm Timmerman 
Team member
Siham Mamouni 
Team member

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