WSU engineering students surprise children with special gift

Published: Dec. 1, 2016 at 10:40 PM CST
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This time of year, nearly every child is looking forward to that perfect gift they've always wanted. But Thursday, a few Wichita kids got that perfect gift much sooner.

For most kids, playtime is something to look forward to. But when a disability affects how you move, playtime can be tough.

"When you have to sit on the sidelines and watch the action, you don't get practice interacting. You don't get to explore and learn," says Beth Watkins who works for Rainbows United.

That's why a group of Wichita State University engineering students spent the last semester modifying battery-powered cars to be used by three kids with various disabilities.

The first to try out the new set of wheels was Breckin Crowley. After a quick fitting and learning the controls, she was off without a hitch.

Then it was Brody Stanley's turn, followed by Jairo Gonzalez. The look on Jairo's face said it all.

"Being able to see the kids reaction means so much because now, all of your engineering work has a real life outcome and you can see it," Jairo's father, Jairo Gonzalez Sr. said. "It's tangible, and it's exciting to watch."

Each car cost about $300 and will go home with the families, free of charge, giving the kids a new set of wheels and new life on the move.