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Egg hunt a picture of joy for kids
Device in eggs helps kids with vision impairment find them
Dulce Canares, 2, of Pittsville, places an Easter Egg in her basket Saturday during the Southside Audible Egg Hunt for visually impaired children. Dulce’s Mother, Arcelia, said she enjoyed watching her daughter having the sam opportunity other kids have. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Materials used by bomb technicians with the Virginia State Police did double duty Saturday during the second annual Southside Audible Egg Hunt for visually impaired children.
Henry County Sheriff’s deputy Brian Punturi, a K-9 officer and school resource officer at Laurel Park Middle School, said the event was the brainchild of Lori Floyd, who works with blind and visually impaired kids at the school.
“She said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great for our kids to be able to have an Easter egg hunt?’” Punturi said, adding that Floyd first saw the idea for the hunt during an event in Virginia Beach.
Punturi discussed the idea with a bomb technician from the state police, and the two devised a single-circuit device that can be hooked up to a 9-volt battery and a beeper, Punturi said.
After making several of them, the devices were placed into a large plastic eggs. The beeping sound can be turned off and on with a switch on one end of the eggs.
On Saturday, those helping with the event turned on the beepers and placed the eggs onto a large area of a field at the Smith River Sports Complex.
“To the field. To the field,” Floyd said. After reviewing the rules, she called out the names of those in the first egg-hunting group.
The yellow, green, blue and red colored eggs mainly were on top of the ground, but a few were perched on orange traffic cones.
The beeping was similar to a cacophony of crickets as the first group headed out on the hunt, walking, toddling and in some cases, being carried.
The youngsters had no problem finding the eggs and placing them in their basket.
One little girl, Dulce Canares, 2, clapped her hands after dropping each egg into her basket.
Arcelia Canares, Dulce’s mother, said the family drove the 70 minutes from Pittsville to Martinsville so her child could take part in the Easter egg hunt.
“I just like to see her walking around” and having the same opportunities as other kids, Canares said, as her daughter dumped all the eggs out of her basket and flipped the basket over before putting it on her head and laughing.
Amber Adams of Ringgold brought her son, James. Now nearly 20 months old, Adams said her son was “kind of too small” to participate in the egg hunt last year.
“This is the first thing that’s been age appropriate” for him to do, she said. “He is having fun.”
James abandoned looking for eggs and instead became focused on getting a cone.
“He found one egg on a cone,” his mother said. “Now, he wants a cone.”
Flor Morales of Axton brought her 6-year-old son Kevin to the event.
“This is his second year” attending the hunt, she said.
Although he is blind and uses a cane to walk, Kevin goes to school, Morales said.
Jeraud Mayo of Danville attended the egg hunt with his daughter, Brooklynn, 2.
He said that Brooklynn is blind in one eye, and while doctors think she may be able to see colors and sunlight, they won’t know for certain until she is older.
Youngsters participating in the event also could play games and were given stickers as each game was completed, Floyd said. Once they had five stickers on their card, the cards could be swapped for prizes.
Youngsters participating in the hunt chose their own Easter baskets at the end of the event, and their siblings (if any) also were given a basket, Floyd said.
In the winner’s circle, she asked “did you play games? Did you have fun?” The smiling participants were quick to answer “Yes.”
Last year’s event attracted 13 youngsters, Floyd said. Nineteen attended Saturday.
“It’s growing. It’s getting better” with each year, she added happily.