This article borrowed from the San Ramon Patch article published on Oct. 16, 2013 by Jane McInnis (Editor)

Understanding the difficulty of getting around in a wheelchair has been a hands-on lesson for students at Montevideo Elementary.

Last week, Montevideo Elementary’s physical education classes were a little different from norm: rather than ball being played on the courts, wheelchair obstacle courses became the main activity.

The school participated in the Wheelchair Foundation program, a charity organization rgar raises money for wheelchair distribution worldwide while fostering perspective to younger students who live without disabilities.

“For us it’s a whole different world,” said fifth-grader Shrena Sudhakar, 10, who participated in the program.

Schools across San Ramon, Danville, Alamo and Pleasanton participated in the fundraiser this year.

Last week, students took turns riding and guiding classmates in red wheelchairs around an obstacle course set up by P.E. instructor Michelle Cabrita.

[See Michelle Cabrita’s video about the project on the school website here.]

Cones proved tricky for students to maneuver around on their own, often being knocked over or caught under the wheelchair.

“I tell the students the cones represent maybe a big rock or a pot hole in the road,” Cabrita said, helping students imagine the obstacles others have to overcome.

After the lesson, students talked about how much work it took to get around in the wheelchairs.

“It changed my perspective because I thought you could just zoom around places fast [in a wheelchair], but it took me so long just to get to the half-way point,” said Zaid Fattah, 10.

“I never want to do it again in my life because my arms ache,” said Kavya Anand, 10.

To see more photos and videos of the program at Montevideo Elementary, click here.

Each year, the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce facilitates four community awards: Business Person of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Educator of the Year, and Charitable Organization of the Year.

“Salutes and Salutations” was the theme for this year’s award ceremony, a casual affair with small plates and wine from 10 local eateries. The event at the Danville Community Center honored those who that have made a difference in the San Ramon Valley with proceeds from the ticket sales benefiting the Veterans Memorial Building.

Presented by the media organization, Danville Express, the Wheelchair Foundation received the 2012 award for Charitable Organization of the Year. With nearly 200 registered non-profits in the town of Danville, there is certainly no lack of competition. Candidates for the Charitable Organization of the Year Award are considered based on the following criteria:

• Chamber member that has been a 501(c)3 for at least five years
• Has made significant, consistent contributions to the San Ramon Valley, and a notable recent contribution
• Demonstrates leadership, thoroughness and integrity

The Wheelchair Foundation is proud to accept this award, with sincere thanks to the members of our community who nominated and chose us for this special title.

Each of these award recipients represents the best of the best in Danville. They are truly what makes our community so wonderful,” said Shelby McNamara, president of the chamber.