Thomas H. Roberts-Wierzbowski
A native of Colrain MA, Thomas is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In his early years he attended the Greenfield Center School and graduated from Mohawk Trail Regional High School where he was a member of the National Honor Society. He then went to Greenfield Community College for two years. In 2008 he graduated from UMass with a Bachelor’s Degree in Individualized Concentration focusing on Film Production and Psychology. He also received his Film Studies Certificate.
Thomas has a progressive neurological condition and started using a wheelchair when he was in fifth grade. Around that time he also received his first service dog, a golden retriever named Breezy, from Paws With A Cause. Stanley, his second service dog, lived with Thomas as long as Stanley was alive. His current service dog is Shiloh.
In 1994 Thomas founded Buddy Baseball, a program for kids with disabilities to play ball with the help of a peer buddy. For this effort he received a Families 1000 award from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation, presented by Governor Weld. Buddy Baseball is still ongoing as a program of the Greenfield MA Recreation Department.
During his years at UMass, Thomas was a member of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Youth Advisory Council and then the Young Adult Advisory Council which advised how to make the transition to adulthood easier for youth with disabilities. The group produced and appeared in a video, We Are Able, aimed at health care professionals.
Thomas’ videos have been shown in the Ashfield Film Festival and as part of an art exhibit in Shelburne Falls MA. His video, Scenes from a Wheelchair, was nominated for the Roiphe Award at UMass.
During the summers Thomas participates in an accessible kayaking program. When he was younger he skied with the help of a ski-walker and rode horses. He also enjoys swimming, tennis, working out, and traveling.
Thomas and Shiloh