Sophomore Adapts Toys, Brings Joy to Kosair Kids

Sacred Heart Academy sophomore Sydney Amshoff volunteers at Kosair for Kids. At their holiday party in 2022, she noticed that adaptive toys for children with special needs were not readily available, and so the Kosair Kids with physical limitations were unable to experience the joy of playing with a new toy at Christmastime. Many popular toys are simply unusable unless altered to be adaptable, and adaptable versions of toys such as Tickle Me Elmo are three-times more expensive to buy than their non-adaptive counterparts. Therefore, finding toys to spark joy is yet another burden for special needs families during the holidays.

Sydney with adapted toys

Sydney had discovered a problem and was determined to find a solution. She had also found the perfect idea for her sophomore capstone project, the International Baccalaureate MYP Personal Project. Empowered with a strong sense of creativity and collaboration, Sydney partnered with University of Louisville Speech-Language Pathology student Abbie Donway, who connected them with engineers at GE Appliances. From there, the duo took toys Kosair had collected (along with some they purchased on their own) and asked engineers to rewire them so differently abled children could use the toys with a push button device. Suddenly, a seemingly simple bubble blower became an accessible toy for a child with special needs.

Sydney with kids

Sydney brought the toys--and Christmas joy--to Kosair for Kids on December 18, 2023. She plans to keep the project going, hoping to partner with other companies to adapt even more toys for children in the future. She and her sophomore classmates will present the Personal Project in 2024.

Sydney exemplifies the Ursuline Core Values of reverence, service, leadership, and community by thinking deeply of others and putting a concern into action. 
Check out photos and videos of Sydney delivering toys here:
More about the IB Personal Project
All Sacred Heart Academy sophomores engage in inquiry, action and reflection throughout their sophomore year in preparation for their IB (International Baccalaureate) MYP (Middle Years Programme) Personal Project.
Students master communication, thinking, research, self-management, and social skills--essential skills for the 21st-century learner and leader--in creating authentic projects that reflect their interests and abilities.
The IB MYP Personal Project provides an opportunity for students to undertake an independent and age-appropriate exploration into an area of personal interest. Because this unique experience provides significant leadership development, the MYP Personal Project is the Jean Frazier Leadership Institute (JFLI) focus for sophomore year. Projects can be based on nearly anything that interests the student.