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Building ramps for those in need

HIBBING, MN- Giving back to their community. A group of inmates on the Iron Range are doing just that, by building ramps for people in need.

It’s part of the challenge incarceration program, which is a collaboration between the department of corrections, access north, and arrowhead community corrections.

They celebrated 25 years of service at Access North’s workshop in Hibbing. That’s where all the ramp building takes place.The inmates involved in the program aren’t just learning how to build ramps, but organizers say they’re also learning job skills, communication skills, and more importantly self-esteem skills.

Over the past 25 years, they’ve assembled and installed more than 1,000 ramps for those who need them. Organizers call it a true example of restorative justice in action.

“A lot of the crew participants, when a consumer comes out and just personally thanks them. I haven’t been able to access my house for this reason. Now because of the work that you’ve done, I’m able to get in and out of my home, that’s unbelievable. When accessibility is removed, you don’t realize the importance of being able to walk out of our home comfortably,” said Victor Moen, district supervisor at the department of corrections.

The program serves ten counties in Northeastern Minnesota. The overall importance is not the ramps they say, it’s the stories that come with the construction of the ramps.

Neil Vierzba

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