Easter celebrated early at YMCA
BY AMELIA HARPER
Saturday, April 13, 2019
The Easter celebration came a little early this year for a group of about 180 exceptional children from schools in the Twin Counties who went on an Egg-xtra Special Egg Hunt on Friday with a group of law enforcement officers at the Harrison Family YMCA.
This was the fourth year for the hunt that is sponsored by the Rocky Mount Harrison Family YMCA, the Rocky Mount Police Department and the Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Department. This year, a few more partners came on board as well including the Nash County Sheriff’s Department, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Department and Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant.
“This event is just a way for us to give back to the special needs kids in the area,” said Sgt. Brad Summerlin of the Rocky Mount Police Department. “Several of our officers have children with special needs so this event is near and dear to their hearts.”
Elementary and middle school students from Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools and Edgecombe County Public Schools attended the event, which featured not only an Easter egg hunt and visit from the Easter bunny, but also face painting, crafts, physical activities, a live DJ to lead in dance sessions and lunch. The Easter egg hunt was held indoors in the larger gymnasium at the YMCA, not only because of the windy weather, but also because the indoor facilities better accommodate students who are in wheel chairs, Summerlin said.
The students also had the chance to interact with more than 50 law enforcement officers from local agencies who placed eggs and aided students in the fun. As an added bonus, each student left with an Easter basket filled with goodies courtesy of the Rocky Mount Police Department, Summerlin said.
Harrison Family YMCA Marketing and Development Director Alyssa Matthews said the event is also special to the YMCA.
“We are here to help serve these students and this event gives them a chance to let loose and have some fun,” Matthews said. “Some of these students are already familiar with the YMCA because some of the schools have adaptive swimming classes here.”
Matthews said the YMCA also is working on new ways to provide more adaptive services to children with special needs in the Twin Counties.
“We actually have a pretty large population of these students here in this community,” she said.
But one of the best parts about the event is that it brings so many groups together, Matthews said.
“This is a great collaboration between the YMCA, law enforcement agencies and the school districts,” she said.