A donated wheelchair has made all the difference for Robert Grimm, who was given a second chance to complete his bachelor’s degree program in Exceptional Student Education through the help of another student.

Grimm was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a child, but it never stopped him from achieving his goals. Currently in the final stages of his bachelor’s in the Teacher Education Program, specializing in

Nieves drops off wheelchair1
Edwin Nieves delivers the wheelchair he has bought for Robert Grimm.

Exceptional Student Education (ESE), Grimm faced new obstacles. The same disability which inspired him to pursue teaching could stand in the way of his dream when he realized that having to balance himself while using crutches meant his hands were not free for writing on the board or using classroom equipment. It was also hindering his mobility and limiting his interaction with students. He needed a wheelchair.

Grimm embraced the idea, but was worried because he didn’t have the money to purchase a wheelchair and this was his second attempt at completing his student-teaching. They reached out to the College to see if there was any form of assistance they could provide.

Robyn Klein, placement coordinator for the Teacher Education Program, contacted the Disabilities Services Office. Sarahis Vega, disabilities services coordinator explained that the office could try to help but that it may take some time for them to find a wheelchair. That’s when Edwin Nieves, entered the picture.

Nieves was in the Disabilities Services office that morning during the telephone exchange between Vega and Klein. He was there as a matter of routine – wanting to follow-up on an issue related to his own disability. A veteran student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in IT, he has a service-connected disability related to his knees.

“I have had to deal with the challenge with my knees for 40 years so I know the importance of a wheelchair and it was just natural to want to help,” he said.

He sprang into action. “I can help,” he told Vega indicating he had heard the concerns. “Just give me a week or so.”

R. Grimm w C. Lallance
Robert Grimm and his coordinating teacher share in the moment after he gets his new wheelchair.

The cost of the wheelchair was funded by Nieves, and immediately, his good deed began to pay off. When he told the owner of the A to Z Thrift Stores the reason he was purchasing the wheelchair, they offered him an additional discount.

Within a week Grimm had his wheelchair, and the equipment has made his classroom experience with the students much easier. Rob is hopeful he will complete his degree this semester, thanks to Nieves. “We’ve never met but I just want to say thank you. Your assistance has forever changed my life.”

“…and ours,” adds Lallance, who had high praises for Grimm’s performance in the classroom. “He is doing an outstanding job with his student-teaching, in all areas.  The students and staff love him.  Mr. Grimm is truly an inspiration, and I am humbled by him, every day!”

If you want to join Grimm in a rewarding profession like teaching, check out the courses offered by our Education Pathway.


Read more about this inspiring story here: Sun Sentinel Story