Some Frisco ISD students are changing the lives of children with special needs in the district.
It all started with an idea from a national program called Go Baby Go. The program provides modified ride-on cars to small children who have limited mobility.
Jennifer Cox, who is a physical therapist for children with special needs in the district, heard about the program and decided it was time to bring it to Frisco ISD three years ago.
"Go Baby Go was founded because it's a fundamental right to be able to explore for these children," Cox said. "So they wanted to capture these really young kids saying you can move, you can explore, you can do this on your own."
Cox said all the hard work is worth it when you see the smiles on the children’s faces, who are recipients of the modified cars. Those recipients have to be children in the Frisco ISD.
"Really the premise is early mobility and giving these kids a way to move themselves, this is the first time that they have been able to say, ‘I can do this myself," Cox said. "I can make this go. By pushing this button I can be by myself and I am independent.'"
Students within the Frisco ISD engineering program are then told exactly what modification certain kids need and then they work accordingly.
Caitlin Montgomery, a graduating senior, has been working with the program since it started in the district.
"The main modification we make on all of the cars is, a lot of the kids who come to us don't have the mobility in their legs that would be necessary to use the acceleration on the gas pedal. We re-wire the car so that it can function with a button on the steering wheel," said Montgomery. "The jeep in particular, there is a back that we added for added support, because a lot of the kids have neck problems or they just need extra help supporting themselves."
Montgomery and her classmates don’t get class credit for working on the projects. It’s strictly on a volunteer basis.
"It's really rewarding just on a personal level to get to see the kids and the family and to see that you are doing something fun to make their day a little better," Montgomery said.
Perry Guillard’s family has benefited from the Go Baby Go project for the last three years. His five-year-old son Mansa, who has a twin sister, was recently outfitted for his second ride-on car.
"Mansa would always be in the wheelchair kind of watching things happen as Macosa grows. Now, they can participate in an activity together. This is something that is very special for our family," Guillard said.
It’s more than just a toy for so many of the families who benefit, it’s also about a new freedom for these children.
"He loves it! He loves it! I'm just excited for him because I haven’t seen him smile consistently that long in a while," Guillard said.
The Go Baby Go project in Frisco ISD produced thirteen modified cars for kids with special needs in their first year and have been working ever since.
The program is supported by the volunteer efforts from students and the engineering staff. They have also received a grant from the Frisco Education Foundation. Their purpose is to support Frisco ISD students and teachers by providing funding for various projects students and teachers are interested in.
The Frisco Sunrise Rotary Club also donated to the Go Baby Go project in the district in hopes the students will continue to help those with special needs.