Friday, February 15, 2013

Thank you High Tech High!

Last November I was given a handout by Eve's physical therapist and again by her audiologist which said that a local high school was looking for special needs kids that could benefit from a hand-made toy or piece of adaptive equipment.  The high school is called "High Tech High" and it is a local charter school.  The program that we became involved in is called "Step Up".  For the Step Up project, several groups of female high school students were teamed together with actual real-world engineer mentors to create something special for special needs children.

I filled out the paperwork and spoke briefly with the group of girls on Skype that was assigned to work on Eve's project.  I emailed the group a link to this blog and told them a little bit about Eve's situation and that was it.  Last month I received an email inviting my family to the unveiling ceremony.  Since I had not heard from the team in many months I honestly had no idea what to expect.

But WOW, I was totally blown away with what Eve's team of girls created!  The unveiling ceremony was last Saturday at the office of SDG&E  in Kearney Mesa.  About six groups of girls presented their various projects and I have to say, I think Eve's team was the best!  They did an outstanding job and created something really unique and special for Eve.  They created this toy board with a barnyard-animal theme.  The goal of the board is to move this little wooden girl around using the track and to light up the lights around the different objects.  Here is a video showing how it works:

After Eve's group made their presentation they brought the toy over to Eve and she played with it during the remainder of the other presentations.  Eve absolutely LOVES it.  She literally trembled with excitement when she realized she could make the lights go on and off.  Turning lights on and off is one of her very favorite activities and so the high school girls really hit the nail on the head when they came up with the idea for this toy.  It will help Eve develop her fine motor skills and we will use it to teach her the signs, and the sounds associated with the various objects on the board.  They told me that they felt it was important to make something that was not only useful but also beautiful and I think they succeeded on both counts.

Here is a photo of Eve with the lovely group of girls that made her toy:
2/10/13 High Tech High 
My favorite part of the night was watching Eve play and interact with the girls who made her toy.  They were so pleased that Eve appreciated the toy that they put so much hard work and creativity into.  I  loved seeing how much Eve enjoyed all of the attention she received from these girls.  Genevieve (second girl from the left in the photo above) kept gushing over Eve and saying she thought Eve was adorable. When Eve would squeal or show excitement, and if the girls responded positively, Eve would repeat what she had done over and over just go get another reaction out of them.   Eve has certainly learned how to please an audience and get attention!

The Step-Up program was such a success for everyone involved.  Eve benefited from a toy that perfectly suits her needs and likes.  The girls that made her toy got the opportunity to learn about Eve and her situation and I think it broadened their horizons just a little bit to get to meet Eve and see how delightful she is in spite of her challenges.

I want to thank High Tech High, the Step-Up program, and especially the five girls who were on Eve's project(Harmony, Andrea, Genevieve, Victoria, and Francesca) for making something so special that we will treasure forever!