Houston Airports rolled out the red carpet and teamed up on April 18 for the third year with the advocate groups, The Arc of Greater Houston, The Arc of Fort Bend County and The Arc of Texas, United Airlines, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Doug Flutie Foundation to offer Wings for All® events at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
“I wanted to make everyone feel special,” said Interim Bush Intercontinental Airport Customer Services Manager Ella Ghica. “I setup a red carpet to honor everyone, the participants as well as their family members. I wanted their airport experience to be memorable in every possible aspect”.
During the event, The Arc of Fort Bend County presented Ghica along with UA and TSA with the Community Awareness Award for their work in the community in helping to raise awareness for autism, a disorder that effects a range of communication and social skills.
“I'm overcome with love,” said Ghica. Watching everyone’s excitement and their smiles, giving them a better understanding of what it means to fly. Giving them hope that one day they can get on an airplane and fly to the destination that they now only can dream about. It means the world to me. I can’t imagine a world without getting on an airplane to go visit family or vacation in new places. We take it for granted.”
The event offered a number of families the opportunity to participate in an airport “rehearsal” specially designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and aviation professionals. Families were given the opportunity to participate in the entire airport experience by practicing entering the airport, obtaining boarding passes, going through security, and boarding an airplane. Wings for All® also gives airport, airline, TSA professionals and other personnel the opportunity to observe, interact and deliver their services in a structured learning environment.
Wings for All® was originally developed by the Charles River Center, a local chapter of The Arc in Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Port Authority. In 2016, more than 500 families from all over the country took part in these events.
Learn more about The Arc and its programs at this link.
The Arc advocates for and serves people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). The Arc has a network of more than 32 chapters across the State of Texas promoting, advocating for, and protecting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.