Geeks for Kids cars bring fun and joy to our kids’ lives, but our cars do so much more! They empower our kids to learn, grow and connect. They inspire our student builders to apply their skills in ways that improve others’ lives. And, in the process of building and delivering our cars, our supporters enrich their own lives and build strong communities. Read on for more about Geeks for Kids’ benefits.
The Benefits for Our Kids
Of course, the cars we build bring our kids joy. Driving their cars is often the first chance our kids have to play outside like other kids. There is huge power in play. Play is the “work” of childhood. It teaches us all so many things.
Consider how we make mental maps of our world. We do this by exploring our surroundings. If you can’t get around, you don’t map effectively. When you are a passenger in a car, for example, do you learn the route as well as you would if you were driving? Most of us cannot easily retrace our steps when someone else drives.
That is true for our kids, too. Stuck in wheelchairs or being carried about means that they do not have the freedom to explore. Cole Galloway, the founder of the grassroots initiative that inspired Geeks for Kids, shared a story about how mental mapping changes when kids are free to move on their own.
Cole and his team built a car for a little girl who had a lived in a hospital her whole life because she needed a mountain of equipment to breathe and eat. After the little girl received her car, she would drive a few feet and stop, drive a few more feet and stop again. She would sit and stare at the murals on the walls or to look out the windows. She was mapping the world she had lived in her whole life but had had no time to explore as someone zipped her past these things on the way to somewhere else. She, like the rest of us, was learning by doing.
Mental mapping is just one of the benefits our kids reap from their cars. They also develop strength and coordination as they practice driving. They connect with other kids and make friends as they drive around in their hot rods. And, they learn to make decisions and take charge – often for the first time. Our cars open the world to our kids.
The Benefits for Our Student Builders
Geeks for Kids pairs high school and college student roboticists, engineers and programmers with professional techs to design and build cars for our kids. This partnership helps our students learn and grow too. As kids work with their mentors:
- They apply the skills they have been learning in classroom and labs to real-world problems.
- They innovate.
- And, they learn that they can make a huge difference in others’ lives.
Last year, one of our high school robotics team members explained what Geeks for Kids meant to her. She said:
“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 team) 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.”
We believe that all our builders share this sentiment. Our management team certainly experiences it every day.
The Benefits for our Supporters
When you get involved in Geeks for Kids, you empower kids with mobility limitations to move, play and explore independently – perhaps for the first time in their lives. We can promise you no greater benefit than the joy that you will give and the joy you will receive when you participate in Geeks for Kids.
Delivering the cars we build is better than the best Christmas morning. As the kids drive their cars for the first time, they glow. Their parents cry. And, all of us – the sponsors, donors and volunteers – know we have done something that really matters.
In addition, if you decide to jump in and help build cars, you will grow your skills and build strong community ties. As you brainstorm, design and build cars, you will find yourself solving new, interesting and often complex puzzles. And, as you work with other volunteers, you connect with both the folks you came with and with those you meet on the “assembly line.” Like most things in life, the more your invest, the more you get back.