Project Recap: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Van" for Magic Wheel Chair

We make a living by what we get, but we make a LIFE by WHAT WE GIVE.'


Welcome back to the Creventive recap, where we cover past events/projects.


I'm your host, Connor Asher, I recently had the opportunity to be a builder for Magic Wheelchair: a non-profit organization which helps every kid in a wheelchair receive an epic costume for Halloween.

I was given this opportunity in mid 2016 by Ryan Weimer, founder of Magic Wheelchair, who told me that there was a lead in my area for a great kid named: Samuel Morales.


Samuel is a 5-year old boy, diagnosed with spina bifida L3-4, who loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His dream this year was to be transformed into the pizza-loving, crime fighting ninja turtle: Michelangelo, while driving in the TMNT party bus.


Our team was ready to bring Samuel's dream to life.


Before I head further into the details of the project, I want to go back to a memory which started it all. I started Creventive during my time in High School. While most kids were playing basketball, football, I was running my own business.


My school didn't offer classes to help me with the career I wanted to pursue. We weren't fortunate enough to have art. This lead me to pursuing workshops/classes outside of school. Then I found: Stan Winston School of Character Arts.


It was the perfect medium for learning all aspects of character creation and practical effects. I was finally learning the skill sets I needed to know from some of the best in the industry.


One day Stan Winston School posted about one of their latest partnerships with Magic Wheelchair & the rest was history.


Immediately after seeing the promo, I signed up to volunteer, a few months later...I got the call and began work with Samuel and his family.


The entire process began with fundraising. Between our online campaign, and going door-to-door throughout the Chicagoland area, we are so grateful to have raised a total of $1759.00 from our $1500 goal!


From there, I had multiple meetings with Samuel's family to work on concepts with the rockstar himself. We began with taking measurements of the wheelchair to get an idea of the size and how the costume would attach to his chair. I also went through different examples & references of the cars, and even drew some concepts on-spot.


From there, my teammates & I went on multiple supplies runs to get all the materials together for our project.


Once we had all the materials, we began construction.  Our original plan was to use l-200 foam, patterned directly off a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy van. Unfortunately this did not work out, and we had to restart entirely.


We decided to chose a new material that would be lightweight and portable. We went with thin birch plywood with a PVC pipe structure along with many external elements to make his van POP.


The project took a total of 168hrs between conceptualization, patterning, construction, painting, and lots of trial and error.


I'm very grateful to Magic Wheelchair for the opportunity. Their team was responsive to my questions, would assist my needs, and were extremely receptive to my feedback.


Ryan Weimer spoke highly of leaving an impression. The reaction you get from a kiddo when they see their dream come to life is priceless...that couldn't be any more true.


For me, Magic Wheelchair was a chance to go back to my roots. It's why I started Creventive and made puppetry such a huge aspect of what I do.


Puppetry in particular gives so much heart and soul. Kids treat the puppets like they're human beings and the reactions you get are truly priceless...there's nothing quite like it.


Now, I had the chance to do that all over again on a much larger scale. Through meeting and working with people I would've never had the chance to without this, making memories that will last a lifetime.


I am extremely grateful for our entire community for joining Creventive on this journey for bringing Samuel's dream to life, and hope to continue to be involved in great causes like Magic Wheelchair for many years to come.