Giving Kids Mobility

Go Baby Go Project, Community Partnership

The local Go Baby Go project is a collaboration between the Family Health West Foundation (FHW), FHW Pediatric Rehabilitation, and Colorado Mesa University (CMU) to give children on the Western Slope the gift of mobility. These organizations have worked collaboratively for 7 years to benefit Western Slope kids. The annual event is an extension of the national Go Baby Go project which brings mobility to kids who otherwise might not have it. CMU provides the brains and brawn as well as some additional funding, the FHW Foundation provides financial backing, and FHW Pediatric Rehab provides the beneficiaries. Small electric cars are modified in a manner specific to each child receiving them, in a way that will give them independence and in some cases mobility freedom they haven’t experienced before.

CMU students in 2021 modify a car as part of the Go Baby Go program.

“Early independent mobility, such as a Go Baby Go car, has been found to be strongly associated with many areas of development in children,” Andrea Goodwin, FHW Pediatric Therapist, said. “By giving the gift of early independent mobility to kids during play, they are able to learn and grow alongside their peers. It is a privilege to watch the smiles spread across their faces as they take off in their new cars for the first time!”

Throughout February, the CMU students have been working on specific modifications to the child-size electric cars. The event day is March 5, 2022, where the CMU students will refine the electric cars to the child and send them home with their personalized mobility vehicle by the end of the day.

“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,” Sarah Lanci, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Go Baby Go Project Director at CMU, said. “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.”

Zara Hagen tested out her electric car at the 2021 Go Baby Go event.

The electric cars are purchased by the FHW Foundation through specific donations made by Junior Service League (JSL), Numotion, and Walmart. JSL is an organization of women who are committed to working together to improve our community through fundraising and volunteering. Numotion is leading the nation in Complex Rehab Technology, according to their website. They have an office in Grand Junction and 150 offices across the country. Walmart is an American staple store with three locations in Grand Junction.

“This is always an exciting event we help out with,” John Kelley, FHW Foundation Director said. “To be able to help kids in our community is what we are all about at the Family Health West Foundation. We are honored to partner with our pediatric program and the amazing community partner, CMU. Thank you to our sponsors that help us with the event.”

In 2021, Pediatric Rehab completed 35,752 treatments and the Pediatric Team treated 1,272 patients in 2021. Their patients travel from Eastern Utah and across Western Colorado for treatment with FHW Pediatric Rehab team. In some cases, the ability for families to bring their children to Fruita for therapy means regular attendance for appointments, consistency in treatment, and the ability to live in their homes and not have to move to a more urban area for the specialized treatment provided at FHW.

A pediatric recipient of the 2021 Go Baby Go event along with CMU students.

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