From Challenge to Opportunity
President Tim Caruso originally co-founded TKEN with Lisa Blake, a registered nurse at Shriners Hospital, as a 501c3 in 2005. A physical therapist for 30 years, Tim realized how greatly adaptive equipment could benefit kids’ ability to interact with their communities, from home to school and everywhere in between.
The hospital where Tim worked at the time had a closet full of adaptive equipment, but when the fire marshall said it had to be cleared out for safety reasons, inspiration struck. Why not connect the equipment directly with kids in need, whose families may have trouble getting insurance to cover it?
How We Help Kids
José was one of those kids. At 4 years old, the ever-optimistic José had grown frustrated. He craved independence, as most kids his age do. But the equipment he used to get around was hindering him, not enabling him to do more.
Due to a rare medical condition, José uses a wheelchair. However, because of his chair’s structure—with four small tires just beyond his reach—he couldn’t move the chair himself. José had to rely on his parents to push him from place to place. José’s parents knew their son wanted to be more independent. They contacted The Kids Equipment Network to see if we could help.
Our volunteer team of PT, OT, manufacturer reps, assistive technology professionals and others holds monthly clinics to custom fit kids with equipment that will help them better interact with their world. Families find us in different ways—through school systems, hospitals, events, and word of mouth.
José came to one of our clinics, and after measuring him, we matched him with a wheelchair that better fit his size and abilities. Instead of four small wheels, the chair had two large main wheels, and José—now more smiley than ever—is finally able to push himself from place to place.
I cannot describe in words how thankful I am to your foundation for providing my little girl with the equipment she needed. My daughter Jaiden, has a power chair and we needed a back up manual chair for when the power chair has issues. We are so grateful to have found another one thanks to your foundation.
See Our Clinic in Action
Each month, we serve about 20 kids at our weekend clinics, which we hold in Chicago and the suburbs to make them as accessible as possible. The kids’ families first fill out our application, and when we have access to the equipment that will fit their needs, we invite them to a clinic for fitting.
Depending on each child’s condition and the type of equipment they need, fittings take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half—none of which would be possible without our dedicated volunteers.
And while we could go on and on about our clinics, our photos will give you an even better feel for what we do and the adorable kids we’re proud to serve.
Not Disabled. Able.
Dedicated TKEN volunteers
Years of service
Pieces of equipment provided
Help a child. Donate today
We’re one of few organizations worldwide that fulfills their mission without paid positions. Monetary donations provide funding for portions or pieces of equipment for children. Our work wouldn’t be possible without your assistance.