NEWINGTON - Marcus Correa and Meera Patel were among a group of eighth-graders at the Academy of Biomedical Sciences at Martin Kellogg Middle School who helped build and redesign four ride-on cars last Friday to donate to children with mobility disabilities on Saturday.
The project was done in partnership with Central C.A.R.E.S., an organization formed by a group of students and faculty from Central Connecticut State University. The group uses technical skills to enhance the lives of children and adults with special needs through various projects including Go Baby Go, which adapts electric ride-on cars to help children be mobile.
This is the second year in a row that Martin Kellogg students worked with the ride-on cars as a culmination activity for the end of their two years at the Academy of Biomedical Sciences.
“Throughout the year, our teachers told us that we were going to do the Go Baby Go and immediately I was already so excited because sharing and giving out to our community and kids that can’t walk, it’s just an amazing experience,” Patel said.
“Even now, when we were starting to build the cars, our group was kind of the last because we had difficulty but I feel that we overcame that because we were a really great team. I feel that out of this exercise we learned a lot of teamwork. I hope we can make a child smile. I know how to walk but other kids don’t and it’s like oh my god, they are moving because of us.”
“It’s by far the most fun project we’ve ever done,” Correa said. “It’s really cool because we get to work with people that are specialized in it or go to college to do this and they are definitely a really big help.
“My teachers and the CCSU atudents taught me things about circuits that I didn’t know until today and that’s really cool. It feels really great, it feels good in your heart. The best part is going to be when they walk in and start driving the car.”
Ashley Klopfer, science teacher at the Academy of Biomedical Sciences; and Jennifer Freese, the academy’s program director, were part of the team that made the project a reality for the eighth-graders.
Klopfer said last year’s outcome was successful.
“When the kids were here last year with their families, just that outpouring of emotions and just being able to reach out and make a difference in someone else’s life, it teaches our students empathy, it teaches the importance of community outreach and it teaches them that working together as a team accomplishes something much bigger than themselves,” Klopfer said.
The C.A.R.E.S. team; CCSU students; Martin Kellogg students, teachers, and a visiting teacher from Danbury looking to bring the program to his school took part in last Friday’s project.
“I’m seeing very team-oriented group work,” Michele Dischino, CCSU professor, said. “They are all enthusiastic and eager to learn.”
On Saturday, the children with disabilities took their ride-on cars home, but before that, the Martin Kellogg students fitted each child to the car and modified each car as needed for the child’s comfort.
To learn more about Central C.A.R.E.S., visit, https://thelink.ccsu.edu/organization/central_cares.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.