Taking kids to new heights: Peak Potential helps children with disabilities

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FAIRFIELD -

Peak Potential is a rock-climbing non-profit that helps children with disabilities, taking kids to new heights.

NJ Rock Gym in Fairfield is hosting a session for Peak Potential.

Ryan Donlin has cerebral palsy.

He had a shunt put into his head during his first month of life and had seven brain surgeries before he was 2 years old, though it's really hard to tell now.

"The fact that people can't tell what has happened to him and what he's gone through, the fact that he's basically a typical child, is amazing to me,” says Tara Donlin, Ryan’s mom. “I could cry telling you the story."

"I tell myself I think I can do this and then I take a deep breath, and then the instructor tells me, you can do this, and then I take a deep breath and then I finish strong," says Rayn.

For each child, Peak Potential sets up three volunteers.

"Sometimes you need an extra hand to move that really tight knee or to help bend your hip or whatever you need to get to that next spot,” says Peak Potential Vice President Danit Mark. “A lot of our kids can't do that on their own so they need someone there to help physically do it. Some kids, like today, they just need company."

Collin Berg came as a climber at 11 years old.  Now at 17, he's a volunteer.

"From just being a kid who came in here that wasn't strong at all to now being really strong and being able to be on the other side of it, it really has touched my heart," says Collin.

Peak Potential runs out of four gyms across New Jersey.

Currently, there is a wait-list of several months, so the group is looking for more volunteers.

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