Just as a teenager dreams of his first set of wheels, a child desires to freely move about to explore the world around him. Yet there are many children for whom this is but a dream. A group of Heritage Christian Academy students has the opportunity to help make these dreams come true by using their STEM skills to solve some unique challenges.
Recently, the HCA Chargers Robotics Team was invited by another team—the Red Hot Techie Peppers from the LEARN Science and Math Club—to partner in a special service project to serve children suffering from mobility-impairing disabilities. Chargers Robotics PR Director Ethan Voss says the team is excited to be a part of this effort this year: “We’ve heard their stories, but now we actually get to see what’s going on… and be a part of it.”
The project will be patterned after the Go Baby Go! program, a grassroots effort founded by a physical therapy professor at the University of Delaware. Go Baby Go! connects disabled children with volunteer teams who modify and provide battery-powered, ride-along cars which give these children a measure of independence by allowing them to move around, socialize, and play in ways otherwise impossible.
Commercial wheelchairs are expensive (around $25,000), heavy, and generally reserved for children over the age of five. Knowledgeable volunteers working with families to develop solutions tailored to the needs of each child can turn a normal toy car into a motorized adventure, and possibly even help meet the child’s physical therapy goals, for a fraction of the cost (typically between $300 and $700 per car). Plus, they’re loads of fun to drive!
Let’s get moving!
The project begins with a pre-build prep day next Saturday, April 14th. The build day will take place May 5–6, culminating with the presentation of the cars to the children. The Chargers and Techie Peppers are hoping to provide as many as twenty adapted cars to worthy children. “We just want to get as many cars as we can to these children,” says Voss. They are currently short of their goal. However, with your support their goal to fulfill the dreams of twenty children can become a reality.
YOU can help POWER this project and make a difference!
Wondering how you can help? First, please consider a monetary donation to support this effort. Second, you could form a team of parents, coworkers or church members to participate in the pre-build day (April 14) and/or the build weekend (May 5–6). If you are a part of an engineering or construction firm, this would be a great community service project for a group from your company.
- Contact Robotics Team PR Director Ethan Voss.
- Visit the Get Involved page of Kansas City’s LEARN Science & Math Club website.
- Follow the project’s progress at the Chargers Robotics blog.
- Visit the Go Baby Go! website to learn more about the program’s history and approach, and the difference it has made in the lives of hundreds of children.
- Watch this very cool video.
Thanks for your interest and involvement in this innovative service opportunity. “It’s a great opportunity for our school,” says Voss. “Anything we can do to give back to our community.”
Go Chargers—and go, baby, go!
Photograph used with permission.