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Blinn hosts 10th annual Early Childhood Intervention Christmas party

Blinn students and faculty help bring holiday cheer to Brazos Valley children and families

Blinn students and faculty help bring holiday cheer to Brazos Valley children and families

December 16, 2021

With the flash of a smile and a giggle, 3-year-old Abigail Hoots darted from the crafting table, leaving a trail of jingling bells and brightly colored beads in her wake. She was having a blast alongside approximately 100 other children attending the 10th annual Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Christmas Party on the Blinn College-Bryan Campus.

Abigail, her 4-year-old brother Jacob, and 1-year-old sister Olivia, took turns beading pipe cleaners, painting, and enjoying pizza before the arrival of Santa Claus grabbed everyone’s attention. Their parents, Janice Birmingham and Jacob Hoots, looked on in wonder.

“I had no idea what to expect out of the party, but my kids are absolutely loving it,” said Birmingham. “It’s just great to see all these families together and I know my kids are really excited about all the books and I’m looking forward to the trivia game.”

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. After taking a hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, the party was back this year with more merriment than ever.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the families we support to relax and have a nice evening out during the holiday season,” said Nancy Lugo, an early intervention specialist with ECI. “I have families who look forward to this event every year and we really appreciate all the planning and organizing that Blinn contributes to make this party such a success.”

From book tables, various holiday-themed arts and crafts, a trivia game with toy rewards, pizza, holiday carols, and a visit from Santa Claus, the children in attendance were giddy with excitement over which party event to indulge in first. Behind each activity were the guiding hands of student volunteers from Blinn’s Education/Teaching and Early Childhood Education Programs, formerly the Child Development Program.

“I always knew I wanted to pursue a career working with kids, but after working with 5-and 6-year-olds at a summer camp recently, I realized I wanted to make an impact on young children,” said Early Childhood Education major Jillyssa Hamilton, who volunteered to help at the party. “This is a great opportunity for me to interact with a wide variety of children and support the community I’m in.”

The dedication of Blinn’s Division of Humanities is instrumental to the party’s success. Students, faculty, and staff volunteer their time and donated books, stuffed animals, craft supplies, and toy prizes to make sure each child left with a smile. In addition, local Brazos Valley community members and businesses contributed the food and refreshments.

“This event is always filled with joy and we’re grateful for the community-wide support we receive that makes it possible for the families here tonight to celebrate the holiday season,” said Amy Jones, Education/Teaching and Early Childhood Education Programs Coordinator. “This also is a wonderful learning opportunity for our students by giving them experience engaging with children from diverse backgrounds, including those with special needs.”

Blinn’s Early Childhood Education and Education/Teaching programs prepare students for careers in the classroom at a variety of levels. These programs offer an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education, an Associate of Science Degree in Education, an Associate of Arts in Teaching, and certificate and Occupational Skills Award options.

Students in both programs are prepared to continue their degrees at four-year institutions.

Blinn and the Texas A&M University College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) recently announced the establishment of the Brazos Valley Teach learning community. This co-enrollment program will help support the next generation of educators by providing Blinn students who successfully complete requirements with automatic admission to the Texas A&M CEHD.

For more information about Blinn’s Early Childhood Development Program, visit www.blinn.edu/early-childhood-education. To learn more about Blinn’s Education/Teaching Program, visit www.blinn.edu/teaching.

Registration for Blinn’s winter minimester is available through Dec. 19, and registration for the spring 2022 semester is open through Jan. 17. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu/admissions.

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