Crystal Childers has made an observation: special needs kids don’t seem to benefit as much from Easter events that include children without special needs.
“You have all the other kids running in and grabbing all the eggs, and then you have the special needs kids that are slower or in wheelchairs and not able to get up there, and all the stuff is gone before they're able to get anything,” Childers said.
That’s why she’s creating an Easter event in Springtown just for special needs children and adults.
“I wanted to do something that is just for them where they would feel welcome and have fun at their pace,” Childers said.
This event will take place at 10:30 a.m. on April 1 at the part of the Springtown park behind Wells Fargo, and it will include an egg hunt, face painting, hair coloring, hot dogs, a cakewalk and the application of temporary tattoos.
The Easter bunny is also scheduled to make an appearance at the event. Peter Thoune has experience dressing up as the bunny, so when he heard about this event, he volunteered his services.
“It's a good cause for the autistic and special needs kids,” Thoune said. “It’s fun to do. (I) do it for the kids. She's doing this event for the special needs (people), and it's a good cause; and if I can help her in any way, it's my way of helping.”
Thoune started dressing up as the Easter bunny 25 years ago and visited nursing homes and hospitals in Illinois. He said seeing the looks on people’s faces, both kids and adults, when they see the Easter bunny “makes it worthwhile.”
Childers made it clear that she’s not part of a nonprofit organization, but rather just a mom who wants to do something good and fun for the community.
“There’s not very many events that go on for special needs for holidays,” she said. “I figure doing something now would trigger more stuff to happen in the future. And if everything goes right, I'll like to keep doing this every year, along with even breakfast with Santa Claus for Christmastime.”
The community can help this event by donating candy for the eggs, sodas, Gatorade or water, or by volunteering to help at the event, Childers said. People can drop off supplies at 3W Smoke Shack or at The Nutrition Lodge. Childers can be reached for questions or to pick up supplies at [email protected].
- Jeff Prince
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