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Article: JVS Students Adapt Toys for Kids with Disabilities

JVS Students Adapt Toys for Kids with Disabilities

Tailer Bartlebaugh (Firelands) adapts toys for RePlay for Kids

Ninth grade students recently worked on a STEM project with a lot of meaning behind it. Deb Dohner, JVS 9th and 10th grade Career Connections lab instructor, got a call from RePlay for Kids, asking if her students would be interested in adapting some toys for kids with disabilities. Dohner didn’t hesitate.

“My background, my first job, was working at the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and this project reminded me of all the things we did there. I thought this project would be great for the 9th grade students because honestly they are teenagers and what teenager doesn’t like to take things apart,” Dohner said with a smile.

She was right. Focus and thoughtfulness filled the room as students worked on different projects. Cole Inman, 9th grader from Avon, had amazing concentration as he shared what he was working on. “I’m soldering the wire back on to the toy and then we will plug it in to see if it will work. This project has been really fun.”

RePlay for Kids’ Director of Operations, Natalie Wardega, said the organization adapts and distributes toys free of charge to help raise awareness and increase the number and variety of toys available to the children who need them.

“The Community Foundation of Lorain County provides funds for us to come into schools to teach the students STEM technology,” said Wardega. “We are taking battery-operated toys and rewiring them so that a child with disabilities, who might not have the fine motor skills to operate the toys, will be able to use them.” 

RePlay for Kids conducts hundreds of workshops every year throughout Northeast Ohio and according to Wardega, places like Murray Ridge School will get the toys once they have been adapted.

“The students here at JVS are getting a great practical project to work on,” Wardega shared. “It gives them something to do for their community, and it possibly gets them interested in engineering or electronics.” 

Last year, RePlay for Kids adapted over 1,900 toys.

This workshop will have a lasting effect on so many people, and Devan Vandal, 9th grader from Midview, is one of them. “I think this project is just so cool and I’m really glad we had the chance to do it.”

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The Lorain County Joint Vocational School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs and activities, and provides equal access to the Boys Scouts and other designated youth groups. © 2020. The Lorain County Joint Vocational School District. All Rights Reserved.