For Release: July 23, 2004
High school students participating in the Lewis Educational and Research Collaborative Internship Program (LERCIP) at NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, will have a chance to make this coming holiday season a happier one for area children by participating in toy adaptation workshops. The workshops, which are being hosted by Glenn and RePlay for Kids, will take place from 8 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Monday, July 26 and benefit children with disabilities in Northeast Ohio.
Mainstream toys can often be easily adapted to make them easier for children with disabilities to use. Students will adapt battery-operated toys by taking the toys apart and installing a cable and jack. This process allows any child to use a toy once an appropriate switch is inserted for their use. Some children require a switch that is larger or easier to press and toys can also be adapted so that children can activate them by puffing into a tube or tilting their head.
The high school interns will be guided by NASA employees and by volunteers from RePlay for Kids. "Our students will have an opportunity to see first hand how achievements in science, engineering and technology can improve someone's quality of life," said Jo Ann Charleston, Chief, Educational Programs Office at Glenn. "We hope that through this workshop the interns will learn not only more about electronics but also about people with disabilities, while providing a useful community service and having a lot of fun.
The toys the students are adapting have been donated by NASA Glenn employees and by the U.S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program. RePlay for Kids has established a partnership with Cleveland Toys for Tots whereby appropriate toys are selected from the Toys for Tots supply, adapted for switch access, and then donated to local agencies (such as United Cerebral Palsy) for their holiday parties. The toys adapted at this NASA/RePlay workshop will be part of this year's holiday donation.
The high school component of LERCIP is an educational program that provides eight-week summer internships at the Glenn Research Center for students in science, engineering, professional administration and technical areas. LERCIP is a collaborative undertaking by the Educational Programs Office at Glenn and the Ohio Aerospace Institute.
RePlay for Kids is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization that repairs and modifies toys and assistive devices for use by children with disabilities. RePlay for Kids provides these services at no cost to non-profit organizations that provide medical, educational or recreational resources for children with disabilities in the Northeast Ohio area. Most of these organizations have limited resources and often cannot afford to replace devices that have broken, and do not have the technical knowledge or time available to repair or adapt the devices. RePlay for Kids can provide these services, therefore increasing the number of functioning toys and assistive devices available for children with disabilities.
Media representatives interested in covering the workshops should contact Sallie Keith in Glenn's Media Relations Office at 216-433-5795 for access to the Center.
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