About a dozen Toyota volunteers helped assemble 15 customized vehicles at the Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and got to watch the children drive the cars for the first time.
The cars, which the children were allowed to take home with them, were modified with a push-button switch and extra seatbelt straps to allow the children to operate the vehicles without assistance.
Volunteers from Toyota were among those helping to assemble and modify motorized cars to be used by children with disabilities. Left to right: Ethan Janson, Rebecca Buer, Christina Zor, Christian Guzman, Mark Montenero, John Spielman, Trey Crawford, Nick Poupakis and Vince Luppino.
“The Greater New York Toyota Dealer Association is proud to have contributed to the Children’s Specialized Hospital’s Go Baby Go program, helping to provide fun and functional ride-on cars that allow children with disabilities to enjoy independence while exploring their world,” said Board President Dennis Lauzon on behalf of the Greater New York Toyota dealers. Lauzon is president of Parkway Toyota in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
The day included a check presentation to announce Toyota’s commitment to fund 100 customized cars for children that will be built over the course of a year.
Go Baby Go is a nonprofit research program with 75 chapters nationwide that offers a wheelchair alternative for children who aren't able to walk or need assistance. It doesn't replace wheelchairs but rather provides a fun, temporary supplement.
“Fun is key here,” said the nonprofit’s founder, James Galloway. “It unlocks brain development and exploratory drive for the child, and it ignites active, engaged play from adults and peers.”
Children’s Specialized Hospital treats children and adolescents facing special health challenges – from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities to developmental and behavioral issues.
“Thanks to corporate partners like Toyota, we’re able to help children with limited mobility get into the action,” said Philip Salerno III, president and chief development officer, Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation.