Robotics and IB Students TEAM up to Transform Lives


Inspired by the robotics team’s recent project with GoBabyGo!, a group of 23 IB students partnered with the SMbly Required robotics team to expand their initiative and modify seven  6- and 12-volt cars for children with limited mobility. On November 15, the children, their families and the children’s therapists were invited to campus for the presentation of the newly retrofitted cars. 

The students retrofitted the cars at the recommendations of each child’s therapist at UCP-OC. The custom modifications include rewiring; slowing the cars down; adding additional support; relocating switches and buttons; adding boat knobs to steering wheels or installing joy sticks to allow for better driver control; installing platforms for electronic devices as well as the addition of sounds, LED lights and toy add-ons such as bubble makers and Nerf blasters. The retrofitted cars will allow the children the freedom to explore, be social and gain independence.   This project is a continuation of the robotics team’s partnership with GoBabyGo!

IB student Libby Katzman ’20 shared, “What a unique, fun and meaningful experience it was to collaborate with the robotics team on this project.” Katzman added, “at the end of the day, I got to help someone.” Katzman is also a member of the robotics team.

Ramin Baschshi, M.D., president and CEO of UCP-Orange County offered her thanks to the students and families present at the November 15 ceremony: “UCP is so fortunate to partner with you. What inspiring, young individuals you are (who are our future) – and what a great way for you to start out your life recognizing that you have gifts to give. Your gifts help these children to socialize and interact with people by making them feel like us.”

Among one of the recipients was little Declan Hodge who has cerebral palsy. Declan’s father, Ryan Hodge ’97, shared “the car will keep Declan active and playful, while also assisting with his therapy by making him utilize his left side to steer and activate the vehicle.”

Hodge also offered his thanks on behalf of all the families present, “All of these kids work so hard facing challenges daily, so a program like this, which provides these kids with an opportunity to play and enjoy, is so wonderful. We cannot thank you enough for providing such an amazing gift for our children.”

Moments prior to the unveiling of the cars the school's chaplain, Reverend Mark Cruz, blessed each of the cars by sprinkling them with holy water. Father Cruz concluded his prayer by saying, “May the love and peace of Christ continue to transform hearts and remind us all that ‘true love’ is to think of the good of others and ‘to bring joy and hope’ most especially towards those who are in need of support. Amen.”

What another amazing example of the TEAM effort that takes place on our campus! Together our Eagles are truly making a difference by bringing joy and hope to these seven children.

(To enjoy photos from the event, click on the link below.)

UCP-OC, a local nonprofit providing direct care to Orange County children with disabilities and their families, including physical therapy. 

GoBabyGo! is a national, community-based research, design and outreach program that began in 2012 with founder Dr. Cole Galloway at the University of Delaware. GoBabyGo! modifies battery operated, toy ride-on cars to meet the specific needs of each child in order to provide mobility and socialization for children with limited motor function. 

SMbly Required Robotics: Mentors welcomed. To find out more, please contact Jason Lawrence, robotics director at lawrencej@smhs.org