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Robotics students build customized cars for children with special needs

Posted at 2:39 PM, Nov 25, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Robotics students at Barstow School in Kansas City are revealing newly designed custom cars for children with special needs.

Twenty-two children received motorized cars thanks to the Barstow students and Variety KC Go Baby Go partnership.

"Our world is not constructed for people with different abilities," Go Baby Go! Director Kendra Gagnon told WDAF. What our program does, it's not about special things for special kids, it's about creating a world together that works for everyone."

Gagnon says it's a magical collaboration, and the event emphasizes their philosophy: that mobility is a human right.

"It doesn't just change the way that this child can interact with the world, but it changes the way the world interacts with the child, and that's pretty powerful," Gagnon said.

For many of the toddlers and small children, this opportunity is a chance to simply be a kid.

“We signed up for the car program just because we wanted Everett to be included with his peers in the neighborhood, his big sister, and be able to play outside and have his own car," Neely Gay, a mother of a two and a half year old, said. "So having this is huge. It’s hard to even put into words."

Gay's son Everett struggles with low muscle tone. The customized car provided him with new sense of mobility and freedom.

“It’s really great to see high schoolers doing this, and doing something for our kids. It makes me kind of happy and excited for the future," Gay said.

Robotics students at Barstow are the brains behind the ideas and modifications. The students creating all the switches, buttons and detailed wiring.

“It’s an amazing feeling. I’ve done this for three years now and it’s something I look forward to every year," Barstow Junior Lexi Dixon said. "To see the impact in the community, I feel like it has made me a more empathetic person."

Over the past 5 years, more than 200 custom cars have been designed for area children through Go Baby Go!