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The Power of Mobility

Community partners work together to give local children the gift of exploration

For eight years, Colorado Mesa University (CMU) students and faculty have worked in collaboration with the incredible staff at Family Health West Foundation (FHW) and FHW Pediatric Rehabilitation to provide children with mobility impairments or other developmental delays with the gift of mobility.

On Saturday, March 4, more than 50 CMU students will work alongside 10 pediatric therapists from FHW to build and present six cars for six kids during the annual Go Baby Go event.

"All of us at FHW Pediatric Rehab are really excited to jump into our eighth Go Baby Go event with CMU. Our partnership with Professor Lanci and the CMU engineering department has been very fulfilling over this time as we've collaborated to bring this experience - playing with and driving a ride-on toy car - to any of the children we treat, regardless of disability," said Family Heath West Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation John Weirath. 

The collaboration is multidisciplinary, and has grown to include students beyond those in the CMU CU Boulder Engineering Partnership Program.  

“This is such a great project! CMU students work in multidisciplinary teams to wire the foot pedals to hand-accessed buttons and they customize each car with physical modifications to meet the specific needs of each child. We have students from engineering, occupational therapy, outdoor recreation, computer science, sports management and biology, among others. Students are put in teams that consist of a mix of disciplines and they learn to lean on each other’s strengths and work toward a common goal,” said Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Sarah Lanci. “Some of our students come into this project with no knowledge of electric circuits or how to use hand tools and they leave with a new skill set that they can apply to other aspects of their lives. Some students come into this project because they get to tinker and they leave with an appreciation for how their knowledge can impact someone else’s life. The Go Baby Go project focuses on giving mobility and sociability to the children who receive the cars but everyone involved benefits.”

The kids and their families will be united with their newly developed retrofit toy cars at 9:30am on Saturday in Confluence Hall. This year's grants for Go Baby Go have come from the Junior Service League, Walmart and the Western Colorado Community Foundation.

Go Baby Go event is a national program which offers children the chance to experience the world in a new way, while teaching self-confidence, problem solving skills, motor development, play skills and social interactions.


Written by Kelsey Coleman