Geeks for Kids strives to change the way kids with movement disabilities experience their world. Rather than experience life as passive observers from strollers and wheelchairs, we want to give these kids a chance to move about and explore their world freely. Plus, we want to make these kids “the cool kids” on their blocks by giving them vehicles that excite and engage other kids. This year, we helped a dozen kids meet these goals.
This Year’s Stats
An event this impactful cannot be summed in a few numbers, but those numbers are still important. So, below, you will find the highlights.
- 6 months
- 39 strategy, design, build and delivery sessions
- 66 builders
- 9 corporate sponsors plus dozens of individual donors
- Over 5,000 labor hours
- Over $17,000
- 12 cars
- 6 hand-driven cars for kids with lower-body movement disabilities
- 3 joystick-driven cars for full- or upper-body movement disabilities
- 3 joystick- and remote-control-driven cars for kids with movement and developmental disabilities
- Endless joy and new opportunities for our kids
For pictures of this year’s car Build Events, see our Build Event album on Facebook.
This Year’s Stories
Every kid we meet in every one of our programs lights our fire. Their joy, imagination and dreams inspire us to work harder, to give more, to strive for higher goals. And, the kids we meet through Geeks vs. Geeks double down on that inspiration. They are not only lovable, smart, interesting and fun. They also remind us that life can be so much harder than it should be for anyone – much less a kid. And, that’s why we work so hard to give these kids a hand up.
The following are just a few, short highlights of their stories. We hope they inspire you as much as they inspire us.
- Our daughter was born with a condition that causes some sections of the brain to fuse together. She can do many things – from pushing buttons to managing zippers – but walking is hard. When we go out to play, she walks in her walker or gets pushed in a stroller or toy vehicle. She doesn’t have any freedom or opportunity to play with other kids on her own. An electric car that she can operate herself would allow her to play outside longer (because she wouldn’t get so tired); it would also allow her to go where she wants and play with her friends.
- Our son has a chromosomal abnormality that is so rare that his doctors do not know what the consequences will be. For now, he’s growing and learning, but more slowly than his peers. He’s currently three and just recently started walking. He LOVES his walker and works at it until he’s dripping in sweat. He loves the outdoors, but he can’t keep up with the other kids or walk on uneven surfaces. We would love for him have a car that would allow him to play outside like other kids. Since he does not yet talk, however, we don’t know whether he could navigate well on his own; we would need some way to guide the car if he needed help.
- My daughter was a healthy, happy baby. When she was a toddler, however, she started losing skills. We learned that she has Rett’s Syndrome – a condition that causes the loss of motor function. For now, she can crawl and stand, but she can no longer walk. She enjoys pushing buttons and flipping switches, but she can’t always get her hands to do things she wants them to do. And, she can no longer talk; so, we don’t know for certain what she needs or understands. All she’s ever been able to do is watch other kids playing from the side unless I’m holding her hands or pushing her in her stroller. Having a remote-control-assisted car would be such an amazing, new opportunity for her to be involved and have fun!
- Our son was born healthy. When he was 2 years old, someone drove over him with a car while he was outside playing. The accident broke his back, severed his spinal cord and left him paralyzed from the waist down. He is a busy, rambunctious and social boy; he loves to play outside with his siblings and neighbors, but he has a hard time keeping up when he has to push his wheelchair. It’s so heavy! Besides, it doesn’t move well on grass or uneven surfaces. He would LOVE a car that could travel through the yard or around the park.
For pictures of our kids enjoying their new cars, see Our Kids album on Facebook.
We are pretty sure that our builders get as much joy from building these cars as our kids get from driving them. Here are some of the reasons why:
- I like solving problems. Geeks let me solve problems, work with smart people, learn new things and – most importantly – help kids. What’s not to love about that?
- I’m an IT consultant. I help huge companies figure out how to solve computer problems…. I don’t build things. But, five minutes after meeting “my kid,” I was hooked. After working all day on her car, I spent the evening shopping for a Moana doll to hide in my kid’s trunk because a little bird told me Moana is her favorite Disney character ever. Watching her drive her car for the first time with Moana by her side was the bomb!
- I’ve been competing in FIRST robotics programs for 14 of my 18 years. I’ve built dozens of robots, traveled all over the world, met amazing people and won (along with my teams) many, many awards. And, none of that compares to the satisfaction of building these cars. I feel like I’m really making a lasting difference in other kids’ lives.
For pictures of our builders, see Our Builders album on Facebook.