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Middle Schoolers Lend a Helping Hand

Three innovative sixth-graders from Columbia, South Carolina, are making news thanks to their efforts to get prosthetic hands to children who need them with the help of a 3-D printer.

"The first time we saw the 3-D printers, we were all very intrigued," Corbyn Player, 12, told People magazine. While searching for a way to use their school's new technology for a good cause, Corbyn and her friends, Carson Ellis and McKenzie Smith, discovered Enabling the Future, an organization that connects people who need prosthetics with those who have 3-D printers.

The girls were paired with Alyssa, an 11-year-old South Carolina girl who was born without a left hand. After a few failed attempts, Corbyn, McKenzie and Carson were able to print and assemble a custom hand that would allow Alyssa to do simple tasks that had eluded her for years. They even made it purple, which is Alyssa's favorite color.

"When Alyssa walked in the room with the hand, we all got teary-eyed and she got teary-eyed, and we were all just so excited to see that it had actually happened," McKenzie told People.

The project to create prosthetic hands is all a part of the girls' school's STEM program, which focuses on game development, electronic circuitry, robotics and coding—basically all the technological training you wouldn't find in a typical American curriculum.

MORE: 9 Best STEM Toys for Kids

Even better, the prothetic hands project team is hosting an in-school Hand-a-Thon event where sixth-grade students will come together to assemble hands using the 3-D printing technology.

"We hope to impact many kids' lives by giving them a helping hand," Carson said.

For Alyssa, the gift of a prosthetic hand was nothing short of life changing.

"They helped me do things I would not be able to do," Alyssa told South Carolina's WLTX. "I held my textbook yesterday, and I didn't drop it on my foot."

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Image via CRMS STEM

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