Go Baby Go build takes place at MCCTC

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Karina, of Boardman, happily drove her modified pink car through the obstacle course at the Go Baby Go build at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center on Feb. 24.

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Team Addison, from left, Jake Hockensmith, Tom Hopkinson, Eric Pavlicko and Angelo LaMarca, worked to modify a car for Addison to be able to drive at the Go Baby Go build at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center on Feb. 24.

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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.The Magic of Michael Foundation participated in the Go Baby Go Build at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, with Beverly Lankitus of Mahoning County ESC (left) welcoming Erin Hirschbeck, Kellee Davis and Kim Davis from the foundation to the build on Feb. 24.

By ABBY SLANKER

neighbors@vindy.com

The third annual Go Baby Go build took place at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, with nine teams of students and professionals modifying ride-on cars for nine children on Feb. 24.

Go Baby Go is a program which provides modified ride-on cars for young children with disabilities. Dr. Cole Gallaway PT, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Delaware, founded this program. As there are only a few commercially available devices to promote mobility in young children, modified ride-on cars can facilitate a child’s independence at a much younger age, and at a relatively low cost.

This nationally-known program is specifically for young children, 1-5 years of age, with mobility impairments. Children who have difficulty moving on their own may have an underlying medical diagnosis including cerebral palsy, down syndrome or spina bifida. Each car is custom built for a child’s needs, helps promote mobility and also allows a child to have fun.

The Magic of Michael Foundation made this year’s build possible.

“The Magic of Michael Foundation is honored to be a part of the third annual Go Baby Go workshop. The uniquely designed cars will play a huge role in helping kids with mobility impairments,” said Erin Hirschbeck, Magic of Michael Foundation. “The Magic of Michael Foundation’s mission is to ‘Inspire, empower and provide hope to families enduring the curve balls of life.’ We are very excited to participate in this ‘magical’ cause.”

Volunteers for the build helped equip nine cars for local families and included electricians, occupational therapists, physical therapists and teachers. Students in Walter Barber’s engineering class at MCCTC also volunteered their time, as did YSU physical therapy students. The Valley STEM School at MCCTC designed and made decals for the cars.

As this is the first year The Magic of Michael Foundation has been involved in the program, Hirschbeck said she was impressed with the build.

“As this was the first year we have been involved as a foundation, I didn’t know quite what to expect, but the whole program has exceeded my expectations. Beverly and her team have done a great job orchestrating this entire event,” Hirschbeck said.

An ‘obstacle course’ was set up for the children to drive through once their cars were competed and each child was gifted the car to take home.

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