HOPE Week: ‘Blissful Bedrooms’

Alex Rodriguez, Didi Gregorius, Nathan Eovaldi, Aaron Hicks and Aroldis Chapman visit with Said Rivera.

The Yankees concluded HOPE Week Friday with pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Aroldis Chapman, designated hitter Alex Rodriguez, shortstop Didi Gregorius and outfielder Aaron Hicks raising up their sleeves to do a bedroom makeover for Said Rivera at his home in the Bronx.

Said, 18, loves video games and hanging out with his friends yet was born with tremendous physical challenges. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of five months. Said (pronounced sigh-eed) attends a special needs high school in the Bronx and plays on a wheelchair basketball team, but his participation is very limited due to his condition.

The makeover in his bedroom where he is forced to spend the majority of his time was courtesy of Blissful Bedrooms, which transforms the personal spaces of young individuals who have very limited resources and severe physical disabilities that make them wheelchair dependent and highly reliant on others for activities of daily living.

In 2009, Martha and Alex Gold-Dvoryadkin wanted to do something nice for one of Martha’s former physical therapy students. Tamisha, 21, was unable to sit upright, change her position independently or speak aside from some basic sounds. Without an adult facility to take her in, Tamisha spent most of her time in her bedroom.

Eventually, Martha and Alex came up with the idea of sprucing up Tamisha’s bedroom. They purchased supplies and together spent an entire weekend painting, hanging butterflies and applying rainbows. Her father, a single parent, stood and watched his daughter’s reaction with tears in his eyes.

“Our goal for each bedroom is to create a personal sanctuary conceived exclusively for the individual – a safe haven where the young person will feel inspired, protected, stimulated, valued, appreciated and loved,” Martha said. “This is achieved by a collection of talented and motivated volunteers from the community, who create, design and construct a unique environment that is born out of the recipient’s passions, dreams, fantasies and favorite colors.”

Blissful Bedrooms operates with a group of 20-30 volunteers who contribute on each makeover, all of various ages, backgrounds and skills. When the group is able to raise the funds for the next room, they begin the project.

The average cost of each transformation is approximately $6,000 and takes place over an entire weekend – from Friday night through Sunday night, when a reveal celebration is held. A big dinner is made at the residence and prior makeover recipients come to support the event.

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