POPUP STORMS

Storms to linger overnight before less humid Monday

Taking the Reigns: Woman living with disability finds inspiration through 'Rising Ground'

Vanessa Calderon is a 33-year-old Bronx woman living with a disability. As a baby, she was in a car accident that left her with severe brain trauma and other developmental issues.

News 12 Staff

Mar 29, 2022, 12:59 AM

Updated 817 days ago

Share:

Vanessa Calderon is a 33-year-old Bronx woman living with a disability. As a baby, she was in a car accident that left her with severe brain trauma and other developmental issues.
But her support team at the Brooklyn nonprofit Rising Ground says she is living her life to the very fullest.
"They do things just a tiny bit slower, but they can do anything,” says Vioris Brown, Calderon’s aide for the past two years. “As long as the assistance is there to help her – no problem."
Some of Calderon’s favorite things to do include singing and being around animals, which is how News 12 found her at the Riverdale Stables in Van Cortlandt Park.
The team at the stables says spending time with animals can be a great experience for people with disabilities.
"The time that they spend with the horses reduces their blood pressure, helps them relax a bit, gives them something to look forward to and it is athletic to a certain point," says Scott Tarter, manager at Riverdale Stables.
A trip to the stables is just one of the activities Calderon does at Rising Ground. The nonprofit works with people with disabilities to find hobbies, make friends and learn life skills.
They say it's important to emphasize the ability – not the disability.
"We want people to know that Vanessa is…all of these wonderful things,” says Ryan Garofalo, of Rising Ground. “She's a singer and she's Puerto Rican, and she's a woman and she's a sister and she's a daughter. She is not a disability."


More from News 12