LAKE WORTH — This past summer, Chrystie Tyler, a recent Dreyfoos School of the Arts graduate, worked as an intern at her brother’s digital design firm in Baltimore.
Who knew that stint would lead the 18-year-old Tyler, a visual artist who lives in Lake Worth, to help design and build a 3-D printed prosthetic hand for a boy with developmental disabilities.
It was in Baltimore where Tyler, a Pathfinders Award winner, developed an interest in making prosthetics using the 3-D printing process.
For the past four years, Tyler has volunteered for Best Buddies at Seagull Academy, a program which matches teens and young adults with young people with disabilities.
Seagull Academy is a charter school in Riviera Beach.
It was there that Tyler struck up a friendship with a young boy born without a hand.
“Before school let out last year, I talked to him and he loved the idea of me trying to make a prosthesis for him,” Tyler said.
The Palm Beach Post tried reaching out to the young man, but he did not want to be identified or interviewed.
During Tyler’s internship at her brother’s firm, she researched prosthetic design and construction methods. That’s when she learned about e-NABLING fuTure, a foundation that helps people designs and build prosthetics through the 3D printing process.
Tyler made a model hand and the student liked it. She started the final design in January.
In March, at a Seagull Academy event to raise money for the prom, Tyler, who co-founded a Baking Club at Dreyfoos that was helping out at the event, presented the prosthetic hand to the student.
“The look on his face was great,” Tyler said.
While the young man had seen the prosthetic before, his parents hadn’t.
“It was heartwarming when I saw him show it to his parents for the first time,” Tyler said. “I feel very honored to be able to do this for him. It will give him more courage to try new things.”
Tyler will be attending Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall to study medical illustration.
“They have a lab there where you can do this type of work and I plan to share this with them there,” Tyler said. “And they also have a Best Buddies chapter so I’m excited about that, too.”