Driving Change: Gilford High Students Design Vehicles for Children with Disabilities
Three children are riding in style — and comfort — because of the Gilford High School Intro to Engineering class.
High school student Troy Gallagher introduced GoBabyGo!, a program that provides mobility devices to young children with disabilities, to his teacher, Dan Caron. Troy first discovered the program during a five-week engineering course at St. Paul’s School.
Latching on to the idea, Mr. Caron assigned a GoBabyGo! project to his students as their final assessment. The students selected preschoolers George and Morgan and first-grader Chloe, kids from neighboring Gilford Elementary School, to be the recipients of the new mobility devices.
The high schoolers took the measurements of the children and determined how to best modify each vehicle to fit the specific needs of its future owner. For instance, the students noted that Chloe’s left hand was weaker than her right, so they knew that they would need to move the button that accelerates the vehicle to the left side of the steering wheel, which allows her to accelerate with her weaker hand while steering with her dominant hand.
These vehicles aim to increase accessibility for children living with a disability. They can be used in physical and occupational therapy sessions or to help them better socialize with their peers on the playground.
But the mobility devices built by the Gilford High School students went above and beyond meeting the practical needs of their riders. The students took the time to individualize the cars for Chloe, Morgan, and George — adding Gilford Elementary School license plates and Gilford Fire and Police logos on the front grills of the cars.
Troy and his classmates demonstrated that by being inclusive, we unleash the talent and energy of our friends and peers, strengthen our communities, and bring joy and dignity to those who have been marginalized. And I’m proud to name them June’s Granite Staters of the Month. Their ingenuity, hard work, and compassion makes New Hampshire stronger.