Robotics team creates and donates dog beds

The team constructed PVC pipe dog beds for Imagine Forever Homes in lieu of not being able to make electric cars for Variety Children’s Charity this year

Anna Owsley, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the robotics team was unable to do their annual volunteer and service project for Variety Children’s Charity of Greater Kansas City— where they typically make and donate electric cars. As a result, robotics sponsors and club members have been searching for a new volunteer opportunity, which they decided this year would be to create dog beds out of PVC pipes for the charity Imagine Forever Homes. 

Club sponsor Pan Sheehan came across the opportunity from a friend seeking donated blankets and toddler beds for the non-profit animal shelter Imagine Forever Homes.

“[I thought] that’d be so cool if we could help out. So I researched a little bit like toddler beds, and most of them were all wood,” Sheehad said. “And I really thought about it – you know, our robot is made out of PVC pipe – and I was like, we could totally make PVC pipe beds.”

Sheehan planned the project and got the team started with supplies.

“[My friend] said, ‘Whatever you can donate is great,’ so I just came up with a number of 10 beds and researched it a little bit to find out how much it costs and went and got the supplies, and the kids put them together,” Sheehan said.

The students were tasked with the actual construction work, according to Sheehan. 

“One of the things they had to do was figure out how long to make each of the [bed] sides,” Sheehan said. “Once they figured out the measurements, then a couple people… put them together.”

According to junior Ryan Layton – a third-year team member – building dog beds this year is a new facet of Robotics’ tradition of charity projects.

“We typically try and get involved with a charity organization each year,” Layton said. “Last year, we got involved with an organization where we built cars for kids – little toy cars – for kids who had disabilities.“

The car project – done in collaboration with Variety, the Children’s Charity – had been Robotics’ staple activity for the past few years, according to Sheehan.

“What we [did was] modify electric cars for disabled kids – we did that last year and the year before,” Sheehad said. “And so what we do is we take a car, like a remote control car for a toddler basically, and then we modify … so they can ride their bikes over differently.”

The reason for this year’s switch up was, in large part, COVID-19.

“Because of COVID, we can’t really get hands-on with other people – like, for example, with the cars – we could see the kids and  interact with them, but this year we can’t build stuff and send it off,” Layton said.

Layton has appreciated the opportunity to continue helping the community despite COVID-19 by donating their creations.

“It allows us to help other people and dog shelters where they might not be able to afford stuff that we can build,” Layton said.

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