By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A trip up the ramp in his backyard means the world to 9-year-old Marshall.

For years, before the ramp was installed, he was stuck in the house; his only way in and out was on his grandpa’s shoulders.

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“Robert, his grandpa, pushes him up to the door there and takes him out of the chair and he stands up and he packs him, throws him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes,” said Marshall’s grandmother, Geraldine Jackson.

Now, Marshall has fun navigating the turns down the ramp and into the garage to be loaded into an accessible van that takes him to school and to all the activities he enjoys.

“To know that we are able to allow people out of their homes and on with their lives, that’s just the biggest thing for us,” said Kathy Greiner, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Twin Cities.

Rebuilding Together’s mission is to help low income families make improvements to their homes, so they can stay in them.

“Basically we want to keep them in that home and prevent homelessness so we are doing repairs that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford and also doing accessibility things like keep people from falling in their homes, allowing them to get in and out of their homes,” said Greiner.

From putting a roof on a home to building ramps or adding a shower bar to a bathroom, anything that keeps people safe in their homes is what Rebuilding Together is all about.

For this family, it helped a 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy fulfill his dream of seeing the world outside his home.

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From left to right: Robert LookingElk, Geraldine Jackson, and Marshall in front of a new ramp (Credit: CBS)

“It helps him to get out of the house because if I’m not here, there was nobody here to take him in and out of the house, so this was kind of his little jail basically, so now this opened the door for him so now he can go everywhere,” said Robert LookingElk, Marshall’s grandfather.

The team at Rebuilding Together is about listening and responding when and where they are needed.

“And not just putting ramps, they understand the people they are helping, they understand their needs,” said LookingElk.

The needs for some families to stay in their homes are many, and Rebuilding Together Minnesota is doing its part to make sure we can all take part in building strong families, neighborhoods, and communities.

“It really does take a village in this case, the entire state, to keep our neighbors safe and in their own homes,” said Greiner.

Rebuilding Together Minnesota relies on donations in order to reach the needs of the hundreds of families on their waiting list.

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All summer long, WCCO will be hosting Hook, Line and Shelter, a fishing contest to help raise money to help Rebuilding Together continue their important work. All you need to do is register, catch a fish, and share a picture. The cost is $10 to enter, and all the money will go to Rebuilding Together Minnesota.

Reg Chapman