Invent for Good

Create Mobility Devices for Kids with Movement Limitations & Build Strong Tech, Engineering & Business Skills

Have you ever wanted to make the world a better place?  To invent cool stuff?  To put your mad, mad skills to good use, or learn some mad skills?  To help other kids?  This is your chance!

Invent for Good is an offshoot of our Geeks for Kids program.  For the last four years, our team has built amazing, electric, toy hot rods and other exciting tech to get kids with movement limitations racing.  So far, we have built 60 cars with all sorts of mobility adaptations that allow kids who cannot get around on their own to explore, learn and grow independently - often for the first time in their lives.
 
Join the team – and give other kids the #Power2Play!  This year, we plan to do even more to empower kids with movement limitations.  We will build more cars than ever before, and we will add exciting new features.  (See below for this year’s projects.)   And, you won’t be going it alone.  The professional engineers, programmers and business people on our Design Team and our Advisory Board will guide you along the way.  You will learn and create alongside our pros.

This Year’s Projects

Each year, we make a list of the new stuff we want to design and build.  This year, there are lots of fun and exciting challenges on our “to do” list.  We will:
  • Build up to 40 New Cars
  • Create New Features for our Cars
    • Action Challenges – Create small, fun devices we can add to our cars – like whiffle-ball shooters – to challenge kids to do more with their bodies.
    • Better Head Support - Create a device that comfortably supports a child's head without interfering with seat belts, etc. for kids who have no neck strength.
    • Foot-Drive – Design a control system that would allow a child to drive with one foot or two
    • And, More!
  • Design & Prototype an All-New, From-Scratch Vehicle
    • That empowers kids ages 1 to 18 with movement limitations to explore, learn and grow through play indoors and out, across smooth and bumpy surfaces, and over hilly and flat terrain - but most of all to have FUN!
    • Offers a variety of driving adaptations for different physical abilities, and one that offers fun challenges that engage kids to use their minds and bodies as much as they are able.
    • Excites and engages other kids, inviting them to talk and play with the toy's owner.
    • Compliments the child's developmental goals.
  • Bring Joy & Spread the News
    • Work with kids and their families to identify what they need
    • Help the team design cars and features that are fun-looking and easier to use
    • Produce videos illustrating the benefits our kids receive from their cars
    • Publish news on our social media channels and our website
    • Create memory books for the kids, their families and our volunteers
    • Design brochures and posters
    • Present our program to professional societies and foundations to recruit their support

The Impact on Those We Serve

Over 500,000 American kids have mobility problems; 6,000+ live in our area alone.  Before these kids start school, they have limited access to independent mobility devises like powered wheelchairs.  That means, they rely on others to push them in strollers, carry them, etc.  This lack of freedom causes a learning deficit.  Kids simply don’t learn and grow as well when they can’t go where they want to go, touch and play with the things that interest them.  Plus, they have many fewer chances to meet, play with and make friends with other kids. 
We change that!  Of course, our hot rods bring fun and joy to our kids’ lives; they also do so much more!  They empower our kids to learn, grow and connect.   Join us at this year’s Kickoff Party to learn more about how we make a difference in our kids’ lives.

The Path for You

You do not have to be a super-geek to Invent for Good.  Whether you are interested in business, graphic design, marketing, communications, accounting, computer programming or engineering, we’ve got something for you!   There are different paths for different folks.
The Tech Path
  • Technical Design
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Software Development
  • Robotics
  • CAD
  • Welding
  • Electronics
The Business Path
  • Meet the Kids & Identify their Needs
  • Design New Features
  • Marketing & Social Media
  • Project Management
  • Graphic Design 
  • Video Production
Better still, you do not have to stay on a single path.  If you are interested in both tech and business, you can move back and forth these paths.

The Benefits to You

Invent for Good offers lots of benefits besides learning how to talk “geek.”  You will also have the chance to:
  • Do Good – At the end of the day, this program is all about bringing hope and joy to kids who are “stuck” in bodies that will not move they way they want or will not move at all. 
  • Design & Build Cool Stuff – This program is not about abstract theories and laboratory work; it is about hands-on, DIY invention.  Every day, you will create meaningful, real-world solutions.
  • Learn Tech from the Pros – Even if you do not plan to be an engineer, you will benefit from knowing about technology.  Our program will teach you sound engineering principles plus strong computer, project management, mechanical and electrical engineering skills.
  • Build Business Skills – Building and programming robots is awesome, but solving real-world problems is even better.  You will work with kids and their families to understand what they need, and then you will take an idea from concept to creation – working with others, building community support and more.
  • Impress College Recruiters – Colleges seek out kids who have participated in invention, engineering and entrepreneurial paths because they know these kids are dedicated, logical and creative problem-solvers.  And, we will make sure recruiters know what great work you have done; we will provide you with references and recommendations.
  • Make Friends & Have Fun – Our team has a BLAST!  We dream, design, play and work together.  We make time to try new things, meet new people and hang out just for fun.  We think everyone learns best when they are having a good time.

How to Get Involved

There will be Kickoff Party on Monday, October 26th from 7 to 8:30p to explain what we do and how you can get involved.  We would love for you to visit.  To ensure that we have the space and staffing to make this event a pleasure for all who attend, please register by clicking the register now button on this page. 
For more information on Geeks for Kids, visit:  https://geeks.learnscienceandmathclub.org/.  

Parents and Professionals - Join the fun!  

People tell us all the time that they wish that programs like this were available when they were kids.  Great news!  You can participate now.  Whether you tag along with your child(ren) or you’re a pro, you’re welcome and needed.  Join the mentor team today!

 A job this huge takes a village.  To build custom cars for kids with movement limitations, Geeks for Kids & the Invent for Good programs need people with lots of different skills including:

  • Engineers and roboticists
  • Programmers 
  • Mechanics
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Designers 
  • Seamstresses 
  • Project managers
  • Videographers
  • Marketers and social media mavens

Join the team.  Get kids with movement limitations racing, and give future inventors a hand-up.

For Parents

Parents play a pivotal role in this club.  We strongly encourage parents to get involved and share in the group’s mentoring, planning and administration.  We do understand, though, that sometimes life’s competing demands make it hard for some folks to get involved; so, we offer a drop-off program for parents who can’t attend the Club’s meetings.  In recognition of their contribution to the Club, participating parents receive a 50% discount on their child’s fees.  

The History of the Invent for Good Program

For the last 9 years, competitive robotics has been LEARN’s flagship program for older kids.  Our robo team usually builds amazing robots from fall to early spring.  They have done great work – earning top rankings in our region and winning a spot at the Missouri/Kansas Championship each year.  They have traveled the world, sharing what they do and learning from others, and competing for several years at the World Championship.

As wonderful as those experiences have been, the team is always looking for new tech challenges.  So, each spring when robo season ends, they apply what they have been learning in their classrooms and labs to building amazing tech to help other kids.  

This year, with COVID making large competitions and travel risky, we are taking a sabbatical from robotics and focusing all our effort on inventing for good – through the Geeks for Kids program.  This way, we can limit everyone’s exposure to germs, flex our schedule as COVID dictates and build even more hot rods for kids.

COVID Plan

We have developed a COVID plan for this program with one goal – to keep you safe.  When infections in our community are low, we will meet in person and follow a set of safety protocols designed to protect everyone as much as possible.  (We will explain those plans at the Kickoff Party.)  If infections begin to rise to a critical level, we will move to online meetings and, where possible, work from home.