Helping Hand Gives You an Extra Hand
Helping Hand for Veterans – Gives an extra hand to veteran wheelchair users and others.
Designed and Developed by Girl Scout Ariella Hirsch for a Girl Scout Gold Award Project
The helping Hand is Patent Pending.
The Helping Hand is a DIY articulating arm that easily attaches to the handles of a wheelchair and frees up both hands for veterans and other wheelchair users to operate their wheelchairs while having hands-free support to carry and yet have easy access to lightweight packages such as groceries and personal items.
Designed to be easy to be built by readily available materials, the Helping Hand is inexpensive to build and requires materials that can be purchased at most local hardware stores. You can download the list of materials and instructions for building the Helping Hand on this website by clicking the Download button.
Who had inspiration the Helping Hand? Ariella Hirsch, a Girl Scout, who in 2017 was standing in front of a grocery store selling Girl Scout Cookies. Ariella says her inspiration occurred when “ I observed a gentleman in a wheelchair exiting the store hurriedly headed to his car. What caught my attention was the gallon of milk (weighing 8 pounds) he was carrying. It was in a plastic bag, suspended in HIS MOUTH because he had no other way to carry it. I could only imagine how painful, difficult, and potentially damaging it was to his mouth. I knew in that moment, I could invent an arm to help him carry his groceries and other items and still be able to reach them. Then realized it was a perfect Girl Scout Gold Award project.”
During the design and research phase of the project Ariella noticed, “most people in wheelchairs place a backpack behind the chair that hangs from the handles. This is a great way to carry stuff, but the person in the chair cannot access the backpack without someone's assistance.”
In 2020, Ariella Hirsch is a Senior Girl Scout in troop 60246 of Girl Scouts of the California Central Coast. She is currently 15 years old. She was inspired to imagine and engineer this device herself while selling cookies a few years back, and wanted this to be her Gold Award project. While in front of a grocery store, she witnessed a Veteran carrying a gallon of milk in a bag in his mouth. She knew right then this was not OK and she could help. She reached out to the veteran community for guidance.
“I hope this helps you find more independence. I want to thank the VFW for support and inspiration, my community partners, and all the engineers who helped me make this dream a reality. A Gold Award takes a team.” - A. Hirsch, Troop 60246
Please share your comments about Helping Hand and any modifications you make.
The materials provided here are free to use and can be used, distributed, or produced for use by any person but may not be used for profit or personal gain.
Fill out and submit the form below to Contact Helping Hand for Veterans.
Gold Award Girl Girl Scouts are the dreamers and the doers who take “make the world a better place” to the next level. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable—proof that not only can she make a difference, but that she already has.
Seniors and Ambassadors (9-12 Graders) who earn the Gold Award tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond. Think of the Gold Award as a key that can open doors to scholarships, preferred admission tracks for college, and amazing career opportunities.
Ariella has been thinking about how to tackle the issue of disabled independence for few years. This is the culmination of her work and dedication.