A Milestone for Go Baby Go!

A Milestone for Go Baby Go!

Students assemble 25th vehicle for children with mobility challenges

| By: Daley-Hinkens, Carmelyn M

At the tender age of three years old, Callen Seyler of Oshkosh already appreciates the beauty of taking a car out for a spin.

Looking like a pro behind the wheel, Callen recently visited Fox Valley Technical College to take delivery of his second battery-powered vehicle, which was assembled and customized to remove mobility issues for Callen. The vehicle is made possible through a partnership between FVTC, Children’s Wisconsin and Go Baby Go!, a nationwide program helping children with special needs gain independence with their own customized vehicle.

“So much of what we do with Callen is medical,” explains his mother, Miriah Seyler. “It is a lot of appointments and therapy so to have this be something that is completely fun, it is just so heartwarming.”

Callen is among the first 25 children to receive a customized vehicle since FVTC and Children’s Wisconsin rolled out the first vehicle in June of 2023. To receive a set of wheels, eligible families first meet with Children’s staff, plus faculty and students in the Occupational Therapy program. Through a series of assessments, the group determines how best to modify the vehicle for the child.

“We ask the parents questions to see what they are excited or nervous about,” says Occupational Therapy student Kacy Morrow. “But then we evaluate the modifications together with the physical therapists and occupational therapists. We will take notes and document the adjustments that need to be made to create the best fit for the child.”

Engineering Technologies students involved in the Electronics Club then build the cars and make those necessary changes, such as rewiring the foot pedal and creating a push button on the steering wheel, adding extra padding, or creating a more protective harness.

“With one of the kids, after we made a couple of adjustments so he would fit, that’s when he realized that if he pushes the button, he goes and he can control it,” says Electro-Mechanical Technology student Matthew Kruszewski. “He had control over how fast he went, or when he went, and it was just priceless to see the way his face lit up when he figured this out.”

The volunteer project lets students work on the skills they're learning in their programs but also gives them a venue to work with families in the community.

“I can say almost every single parent has come in with some kind of trepidation about whether their child would be a viable candidate,” Kacy says. “But when they get to see how we work with the child and the car, the parents’ entire demeanor changes by the time the car starts moving and they have that remote control. It’s just so wholesome and fulfilling because they were so hopeful and excited.”

“It’s hard to put into words what this program is like,” explains Automated Manufacturing Systems Technology student Michael Alvarez Gonzalez. “It’s like setting fire to a candle for the first time. It’s enlightening to see the kids when they get their car.”

FVTC and Go Baby Go! Fox Valley want to keep the wheels turning on this project. There are plenty more vehicles waiting to be teamed up with little drivers. Families can learn about this resource at Go Baby Go! Fox Valley.

Go Baby Go! in the news:

Children’s Wisconsin, Fox Valley Tech provide free electric cars to children with special needs

Go Baby Go! program gives the gift of mobility to children with special needs

Custom-made car gifts help northeast Wisconsin kids with special needs