Smiles (and sun) shine at Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs Families

Smiles (and sun) shine at Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs Families

Heavy rain hit Habersham County Saturday morning, but it didn’t keep the sun – and smiles – from shining at the Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs Families.

Dozens of people turned out for the inaugural event held at Hillside Baptist Church in Cornelia.

“We had a good turnout with the weather having been so yucky this morning,” says event co-organizer Rhonda Stamey.

Around 30 people participated, including special needs children and adults, their siblings, parents, and caregivers.

Smiles (and sun) shine at Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs Families
It was a mad rush from the starting line as kids and adults sought to fill up their baskets and bags at the family-friendly event.
Jeremiah King hunts for some of the more than 400 candy-filled eggs placed outside Hillside Baptist Church on April 1, 2023.

Habersham Central High Special Education Teacher Stephanie Frankum Lewis volunteered to help at the event along with three Special Olympics student volunteers. Others volunteered their time and made generous donations to make it a memorable event.

You can come and ‘be you’

Lewis says she was there to support the families. She praised the first time event and its organizers, Stamey and Athena Harkins, who she calls “tireless advocates” for special needs families.

“You can enjoy it and have a wonderful day and feel included and supported and loved just for being you. That’s the beauty of this event,” she says, “it celebrates your diversity and celebrates your differences and encourages you to come and be you.”

Stephanie Lewis and Ava Davis are all smiles as they get a hug from the Easter Bunny.

Stamey and Harkins added Easter this year to their list of seasonal events they help coordinate for special needs families. They also put on annual Christmas and Halloween events. There are no age limits and all special needs families are welcome, no matter where they live.

Ava Davis of Habersham County participated in Saturday’s Easter egg hunt. She said being there with her brother, friends, and prizes “was perfect.” Judging from her smile and those of the others who participated, it’s clear she’s not the only one who thought so.

“Any time you see that many smiles, it makes all the effort and hard work worth it,” says Stamey.

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