A school resource officer (SRO) from a local police department in South Carolina is on a mission to make a positive difference in the community by helping a high school student with special needs gain more independence in her life.
SRO Reyes of the Greenville Police Department decided to step in and help Christina Bartolome, a 17-year-old junior at Greenville High School (GHS), after she captured the hearts of her school and surrounding community with her positivity, despite her challenging situation.
Restricted to a wheelchair and struggling with a speech disability, Christina amazes everyone she meets with her resilience and happy demeanor.
Gwendolyn Blackwell, who works as Christina’s one-on-one aid, spoke about her exceptional qualities.
“In spite of her special needs, she is still positive all the time. She’s very eager to learn new activities and new skills and different things,” Blackwell said.
Christina is an 11th-grader and studies in a self-contained ID Mod special education class.
“I am always with her. If she goes, I go. If she stays, then I stay. I never leave her alone because nothing is more important than her. I love Christina very much,” explained Christina’s mother, Juana Bartolome.
While Christina utilizes an electric wheelchair at school, her family does not have means to transport the electric wheelchair.
It was a difficult situation for the family, but help arrived thanks to the good heart of Officer Reyes.
Reyes, a school resource officer at the school, reached out to Christina’s family after noticing that Christina couldn’t take her electric wheelchair home due to their lack of suitable transportation.
Ultimately, Reyes decided to start a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for a wheelchair loader for the family.
“Officer Reyes decided to reach out to this girl and her family to see what her needs were because he noticed she wasn’t able to take her wheelchair home because they didn’t have the means to take the electric wheelchair home by the extra piece of equipment for their vehicle,” explained Sergeant Johnathan Bragg, the public information officer for the Greenville Police Department.
Juana was shocked by the level of support. “I don’t know where this miracle came from. How they knew my daughter’s condition,” she said.
The success of the GoFundMe campaign will soon allow Christina to continue her journey toward independence.
Once the campaign reaches its goal, the next step will be to work toward obtaining a wheelchair-accessible van for her.
The Greenville Police Department as a whole is also actively involved in supporting Christina’s cause.
“Let’s come together and make a difference in Christina’s life. She is a bright and joyful individual who deserves the chance to thrive. Help us bring independence and happiness to Christina and her family,” the department wrote on Facebook.
The entire amount raised by the GoFundMe will be dedicated to providing the necessary equipment that will significantly enhance Christina’s quality of life and grant her the independence to achieve her goals.
“God bless the people that gave money. I will never see who gave money, but I know God will know who gave,” Juana said.