Flying Charity Helps Kids with Serious Illness Soar

in Aviation & Charity

If your charity works with children and teens battling a serious illness, then you know that their self-confidence is often diminished by the illness. They start to believe something along this line, “I can’t do that. Maybe I could have before I got sick, but not now.”


Charity Flight for kids

6-year old Grace shouts, 'Clear prop!' out the window shortly before takeoff.

Even us non-medical folks recognize how bad beliefs … diminished self-confidence … can undermine all areas of a child’s life, perhaps even their recovery from the illness.

Flight1.org to the rescue!

Over the past year this new nonprofit has put 28 children affected with serious illness at the controls of an airplane.

Let’s be clear. These kids aren’t merely going for a ride in an airplane. They’re at the controls and flying the aircraft! How cool is that?

Don’t worry. There is a Certified Flight Instructor with them while flying. And before that the kids spend time in a simulator getting comfortable with the controls and learning what to do.

It’s a marvelous program. And speaking from personal experience, I can vouch for the fact that kids feel proud, excited and definitely have a surge in self-confidence after flying an airplane.

They’re called Courageous Fliers and receive a set of wings after completing their flight.

Flight1 has a three-year program for the kids and teens which starts with that first flight. This is because you can give a big jolt of confidence with a single flight, but engraining it into the kids for longevity and maximum benefit takes a bit of time. Read more about Flight1.org here, including how you can volunteer.

Another Inspirational Aviation Story

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Every heard of the charity, Shelter to Soldier? It rescues shelter dogs and trains them to be service companions for Veterans.

In a nutshell it provides military personnel battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or other disabilities with a service dog from a local animal rescue or shelter. The sponsored service dog will serve the critical role of psychological and/or physical assistance for the soldier.

Shelter to Soldier recently teamed with Schubach Aviation, and its President, Henry Schubach.

Schubach also loves dogs and believes strongly in supporting veterans. So this was a way to help the charity stay in operation while supporting two causes close to Schubach’s heart.

An article in FlyingMag.com states that, “One of the many important jobs of a companion service dog is to accompany his or her owner on plane trips. Schubach Aviation was the perfect venue for” the training.

Charity Shelter to SoldierIn the photo you see Shelter to Soldier founder Graham Bloem training a service dog named Ty, to navigate aircraft stairs with his owner, Corporal James Norvell, as volunteers look on.

Schubach Aviation also partners with Shelter to Soldier to host fundraising events.

Graham Bloem, founder of Shelter to Soldier stated, “Each year, seven million dogs enter shelters, and nearly half are euthanized. It’s now known that one in five military personnel returning from Iraq or Afghanistan has PTSD, putting them at high risk for suicide. Shelter to Soldier is helping to save lives, two at a time.”

Discover more about Shelter to Soldier here.

That’s two more examples – Flight1 and Shelter to Soldier with Schubach Aviation – where we see that aviation and charitable causes are a winning partnership.

Related posts:

Public Benefit Flying – “When you absolutely, positively shouldn’t be without family”

Wings of Hope – Wings of Peace

Salute to Veterans . . . Salute to Nonprofits Serving Veterans

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Resources for article:

FlyingMag.com – Flight1 Instills Confidence in Kids

Photo of Grace from Flight1.org website

Photo of Ty being trained courtesy of FlyingMag.com