JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Brooks Rehabilitation is helping young children with limited mobility become active with personalized ride-on toy cars modified for their needs.
The organization hosted a build Saturday to modify the cars at Jacksonville University’s Health Sciences Complex.
Fourteen kids went home with a personalized car thanks to the Brooks Rehabilitation Center’s Go Baby Go First Coast Cruisers Program.
The Center partners up with JU students to build the cars from the ground up.
“We build these cars in under three hours, and we give it away to kids,” said Jessie Kristof, Project Manager for First Coast Cruisers.
The cars will help the kids have a chance to move around on their own.
“So, the idea is you’re taking the feet out of the equation and now they’re able to steer, activate and press the button at the same time,” said Michael Justiss, Chair of Occupational Therapy at Jacksonville University.
Easy accessibility and safety are key, which is why each car is inspected before it goes to a child.
“My role in this project is to be the sign-off engineer to basically check all the modifications that were done to the wiring to ensure there is not going to be any issues once we transfer the cars and transition to the kids,” said software engineer Ayshka Castro.
Plus, each one is uniquely designed with the child’s favorite color and cartoon.
But here’s the best part: When the kids arrive with their parents, they’ll be able to pick up their custom ride and take it for a test spin on the racetrack.
“To be able to partner and just support our community is just huge for us. To be able to really be involved in the community is so rewarding,“ said Hannah Bateman, a first-year occupational therapy student at Jacksonville University.
If you know a child who would love a Go Baby Go modified chair, visit https://brooksrehab.org/gobabygo/.
The application for 2022 is closed but will open shortly for 2023.