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Kids use other senses at inclusive egg hunt

Parkersburg News and Sentinel photo by Brett Dunlap Belle and Mike Williams hand out candy to those participating in the Parkersburg Lions Club’s fourth annual Easter Egg Hunt for Visually Impaired Children on Sunday afternoon at City Park.
Parkersburg News and Sentinel photo by Brett Dunlap
Belle and Mike Williams hand out candy to those participating in the Parkersburg Lions Club’s fourth annual Easter Egg Hunt for Visually Impaired Children on Sunday afternoon at City Park.

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — A number of area children got to understand what it was like to rely on their other senses when they were not able to see during an Easter Egg hunt at City Park.

Around a dozen children attended the Parkersburg Lions Club’s fourth annual Easter Egg Hunt for Visually Impaired Children on Sunday afternoon.

“A lot of people, growing up, kind of took the idea of doing an Easter Egg hunt for granted,” Parkersburg Lions Club President Kevin Clem said. “You really don’t think about how children who are typically not sighted having never gotten a chance to do an Easter Egg hunt.”

The local Lions got the idea for the hunt from the Bridgeport Lions Club and have done something similar for the last few years.

In order to help the children with sight issues with the egg hunt, Lions members stood in a large circle behind the Veterans Memorial and the Cooper Log Cabin at City Park and set up stations. Each station had two or more people, one with candy-filled eggs and the other held a beeping “egg.” Children with sight who participated in the hunt were blindfolded to put them on an equal footing with anyone without sight. The circle also prevented anyone from wandering and helped keep the participants safe.

The children – with a partner to help direct them – followed the sound of the beeps and when they reached the origin, were handed the candy eggs.

“It is an auditory Easter Egg hunt,” Clem said.

The blindfolded children got to experience something they may have not have considered before, Clem said, adding they could have classmates or know others with sight issues.

“It gives them some perspective of what their fellow classmates and neighbors are going through,” he said. “Maybe, after today, they will have an idea and a little appreciation of what they are going through.”

Many of the children who participated in Sunday’s egg hunt were sighted. Clem said the colder temperatures might have been a factor to why some people did not attend.

However, traditionally the children without sight have fared better in this type of egg hunt.

“Many of them are used to using their ears to get around,” Clem said.

Alana Robinson, of Waverly, has two children with visual problems who get help through the local schools. She came out because they received an invitation from the schools.

“I like it,” she said of the event. “The ones who can’t see have the bigger advantage.”

She appreciated the fact that those with good eyesight got to experience what others, like her own kids, are going through. It also helps teach her kids to use their other senses more.

“They have problems at home and this helps them learn by listening more,” Robinson said.

Jessica Hall, of Lubeck, brought her children out to participated. Her daughter, Sophie, and son, Landon, were both blindfolded.

“It is great for the kids who have disabilities to interact with the ones who don’t,” she said. “It also gives the ones who don’t have an opportunity to see what the ones who do have to go through on a daily basis.”

Volunteer Rachel Johnson said she loves the event and spending time with the kids who come to it.

“I love working with these kids,” she said. “It helps many realize what blind people experience.

“They are walking without sight and these kids are realizing how hard that is. It is a different experience for them.”

One of the main missions of the Parkersburg Lions Club is to work with people who have problems with their vision. They have a program to help people get eyeglasses

“Our mission is to work with people with vision issues,” Clem said. “Anything with vision we do.”

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