By Makenzie O'Keefe


DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – Volunteers are giving the gift of independence to Jamile Hernandez, a Denver girl who was paralyzed in a car accident two years ago. The 9 year old and her mom were driving home from a funeral when an impaired driver crashed into them.

Jamille Hernandez (credit: CBS)

Jamille Hernandez in the hospital (credit: CBS)

“He impacted my car and sent us immediately to the hospital,” explained Jamile’s mother Sandrea. “He was on drugs and alcohol, he wasn’t okay to drive.”

That crash paralyzed Jamile from the chest down.

“It was the hardest part for me, for us,” her mother explained. “I couldn’t believe it when they said she wasn’t going to walk again.”

(credit: CBS)

Because Jamile is now in a wheelchair, she has a hard time getting out in her backyard. Her back door is not wheelchair accessible, so her family has to help her out the front door and around the house to get in the backyard to play.

“I can’t do the things I like now,” Jamile explained. “It was hard because I’d have to ask someone to push me over there and it’s not really that flat.”

Jamile Hernandez with her family (credit: CBS)

That’s where the Home Builders Foundation has come in. They teamed up with Wonderland Homes to build Jamile a ramp and deck in her backyard.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

A group of volunteers were hard at work on Wednesday.

“If I could do this 24 hours a day 7 days a week, I would,” James Mussman explained, who works for Wonderland Homes. “It’s helping changed lives. In this case a little girl who can come out here and enjoy time with her family.”

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The Home Builders Foundation works to help build independence and provide opportunities for people who face disabilities in the community.

“It’s all about getting her that quality of life and we call it elevating lives,” explained Brian Johnson, the program director. “We change people’s lives and often make a bad situation better.”

This week, the group of 250 volunteers will work to build 25 wheelchair ramps around the Denver metro area.

Families apply to receive help from this organization. If you know anyone who could benefit from the Home Builders Foundation program, visit hbfdenver.org.

Makenzie O'Keefe

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