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Blinn College partners with nonprofit to host seventh annual children’s Christmas party

Students and faculty volunteer to serve Early Childhood Intervention children and their families

Mackenziee Ochoa

December 15, 2017

For the seventh 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 photos with Santa Claus.

Since 2011, Blinn College students and faculty have partnered with Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Brazos Valley, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, to host a Christmas party for children with disabilities or developmental delays and their families. ECI serves infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, and provides support to families to help their children reach their potential through personalized developmental services.

After enjoying pizza and cookies, 2-year-old Mackenziee Ochoa wandered around the Student Center hand-in-hand with her ECI occupational therapist. Meanwhile, her family sat at a nearby table, relaxing and chatting with other families attending the party.

“It is nice to have an opportunity to meet other families in the community who share the same experiences we do,” said Blanca Ochoa, Mackenziee’s mother. “We are able to exchange stories and ask for advice in a setting where we feel comfortable and relaxed. This is our last year to be a part of ECI and attend the Christmas party, and we will really miss it.”

More than 100 children scurried from table to table, making candy canes with pipe cleaners and beads, 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 in the future, and the ECI Christmas Party allows them to apply concepts they have 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 Jessica Christian, ECI Brazos Valley Team Manager. “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 for the Spring semester is open through Monday, Jan. 15. College officials encourage early registration for convenient scheduling and placement in high-demand courses.

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