(Photo by Flickr user Scott Sherrill-Mix, used under a Creative Commons license)
Though it’s been around at the University of Delaware for a decade, GoBabyGo! completed its first workshop in Delaware just last December.
The program involves volunteers retooling toy cars — the kind you get from Toys “R” Us and Walmart — to provide mobility for small children with disabilities.
“Everyone’s been calling us to this zip code and that zip code, and we all forgot about where we came from,” said John Koshy, a program organizer. He noted the program has expanded across the country and as far as places like New Zealand and Israel.
But that’s all starting to change: The Fun Dept., based out of 1313 Innovation, is adding GoBabyGo! workshops to its menu of selections for corporate team-building exercises, and Koshy is in talks with FIRST Robotics folks in Delaware about getting kids involved in making the cars.
“We said rather than constantly making the goal from 10 feet to 20 feet (in a robotics competition), why don’t we do a real-life problem and make robots for kids and try something new?” Koshy said, noting that the demand for these cars is high and constant.
Jess Ruggieri from The Fun Dept. said the company is excited to get involved, and that there’s a hope to devote a staff member to focus solely on building cars at corporate events.
She and others at 1313 did a test-run of putting together two cars last week, and she said it went well.
“We got a driver profile of the kid and created specific seating, and the car actually rehabs the child,” she said.
GoBabyGo! has formatted its instructions for remodeling the cars are in iBook form on iPads.
The ease of the instructions, Koshy said, has been middle-school student approved.
“We use a lot of pictures, a lot of colors, minimal words,” he said. “Our goal is to make the manuals available worldwide so everyone can access them and use them.”
GoBabyGo! is in beta testing, he said, for participants to upload their own modifications and share tips. “Our goal is to … roll out a large-scale platform where everyone can upload, collaborate and talk to each other, and we’re excited to see what the world can come up with,” Koshy said.
Ruggieri said she was initially nervous about doing things like stripping wires and tinkering with electronics, but said ultimately, the worry was unnecessary. This week, the company will do its first GoBabyGo! corporate workshop and build 10 cars.
“It’s such a great partnership because now we’ll be able to help them field those inquiries,” she said. “We just feel partnering with them is a way to give back.”-30-
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