Blinn partners with local child development program to host ninth annual children's Christmas party

Blinn students and faculty spread holiday cheer to Brazos Valley children and families in the Early Childhood Intervention Program

Blinn students and faculty spread holiday cheer to Brazos Valley children and families in the Early Childhood Intervention Program

December 13, 2019

Between a slice of pizza and a touch and feel book on dinosaurs, two-year-old Iñaki was faced with a dilemma—food or fun. Hunger temporarily won out and dinosaurs would have to wait as he sunk his teeth into the tasty slice sitting on his plate. 

Iñaki and his 8-year-old cousin Liovanni were two of the approximately 100 children exploring the Blinn College-Bryan Campus Student Center at the ninth annual Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Christmas Party on Saturday. Since 2011, Blinn students and faculty have partnered with ECI, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, to host the holiday gathering for children with disabilities and developmental delays and their families.

“This party is just a great event for our families to come, be together, and for the kids to enjoy the holidays,” said Teresa Wiechman, ECI Infant Program Team Manager. “Our office serves between 200 and 250 families in the Brazos Valley and we really appreciate Blinn because they do so much of the planning and organizing to help make this party a success.”

From a book table, various holiday-themed arts and crafts, a trivia game, pizza and cookies, and visits from Santa Claus the children in attendance were wide-eyed with excitement as they decided which party event to explore first.

“The party has been so much fun and I’m amazed at how it’s been organized,” said Sonia Arenas, whose son Iñaki receives assistance from an ECI speech therapist as well as a weekly playmate visit. “My son likes the books and the pizza. He’s definitely enjoying himself.”

After polishing off his pizza, Iñaki and the rest of the family were ready to visit Santa. Liovanni had just returned from learning how to make an ornament with pipe cleaners and beads with the guidance of Blinn’s student volunteers. From handing out gifts with Santa to coordinating the crafting tables, students in Blinn’s Child Development and Education programs were an integral part of the party’s success.

“I’m interested in becoming a diagnostician or counselor working with younger children, so volunteering at this year’s ECI Christmas party allows me to interact with the age group I hope to serve one day,” said Child Development Program Student Makayla Gilliam. “I love giving back to others, and seeing how much fun the kids are having is very rewarding.”

In addition to the commitment from Blinn students, Blinn employees and Brazos Valley community members and businesses donate the books, stuffed animals, craft supplies, food and refreshments, and toy prizes for the party.

“This event is very special to us and we’re so grateful for the community-wide support we receive that ensures the families here tonight have a wonderful time,” said Amy Jones, Child Development Program Coordinator. “Most of the student volunteers want to work with young children and this event enables them to put the skills they have learned in the classroom into practice.”

Blinn’s Child Development Program prepares students for careers helping children grown and develop in the best environment possible. Graduates of the program are qualified to enter positions as teachers in public and private childcare facilities as well as other early childhood programs.

For more information about Blinn’s Child Development Program, visit www.blinn.edu/child-development.

Registration for Blinn’s Winter Minimester is available through Dec. 15, and registration for the Spring semester is open through Jan. 20. College officials encourage early registration for convenient scheduling and placement in high-demand courses.

For enrollment or financial aid information, visit www.blinn.edu/admissions.

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