December 16, 2016
For the sixth consecutive year, a crowd of giddy children bounced around the Blinn College-Bryan Campus Student Center trying their hand at holiday-themed games, arts and crafts and braving pictures with Santa.
Since 2011, Blinn instructors and students have partnered with Early Childhood Intervention (ECI), a program of Easter Seals East Texas, to host a Christmas party for children with disabilities or developmental delays and their families. ECI serves infants and toddlers, birth through age 3, and provides support to families to help their children reach their potential through personalized developmental services.
After enjoying pizza and cookies, 2-year-old Roberto Tovar and 6-year-old Brandon Cruz ventured over to Saint Nick for a picture. While Brandon Cruz stood proudly next to Santa and smiled for the camera, his brother Roberto squirmed from the big man’s grasp and headed to the next activity.
“Roberto is not a fan of Santa Claus right now, because he still young,” said Guiuliana Tovar, Roberto and Brandon’s mother. “He is a part of ECI, and they invited our whole family to this party. This is the first time we’ve been here, and it has been a lot of fun. Everything is so beautiful.”
More than 120 children scurried from table to table, making snowmen out of socks, fabric Christmas trees, ornaments out of cups and stickers and other Christmas-themed crafts with the help of 70 Child Development Program students.
“We get as much out of this party as the children do, if not more,” said Amy Jones, Child Development Program Coordinator. “Most of these students will be working with children and their families in various settings, and the ECI Christmas Party allows them to apply concepts they’ve learned in the classroom.”
Students from Blinn’s Child Development and education classes, Blinn faculty and staff, and Brazos Valley community members donated books and stuffed animals for the children.
“This collaboration has been just amazing for both ECI and Blinn College,” said Amy Tutoki, ECI Director. “Not only does it give students experience working with children with disabilities or developmental delays, it gives families the opportunity to relax and have a good time.”
Registration is currently open for Blinn’s Spring semester. Registration for the 16-week and first eight-week Spring courses is available through Jan. 16, with classes beginning Jan. 17. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.