Disability does little to impair these kids’ enthusiasm for Easter in Des Moines: some can no longer see light or color, but they can enjoy the thrill of the hunt using their ears.
Pioneers, a community service group, hosted its annual Easter egg hunt for visually-impaired kids at the Wesley Homes Retirement Community on Saturday. The group has been putting beepers in eggs since the 1970s so the kids can find them and trade them in for candy.
“He wanted to skip the snacks before and just go for finding the eggs,” Joanne Greco said of her newly adopted son Joseph, 11. “He turned off each egg so he could find the next one. He’s a very smart child.”
Greco adopted Joseph six weeks ago from China, and this is his first Easter and egg hunt. He knows about 50 English words so far, and one of them is now ‘beep.’
Joseph also took part in the “Smooch a Pooch Kissing Booth” display inside. During the last few years, Pioneers has also invited guide dog puppies from San Rafael, California to come meet the kids and socialize the dogs.
“Children who are too young, under 16 years old and are visually impaired and would like to have a dog -- they can get one of our canine buddy dogs and learn to feed it and train it and walk with it. So if they get one later, they already know how to take care of it,” Charlotte Phillips, guide dog trainer with Guide Dogs for the Blind, said.
Demarie McCurdy said she is looking into getting a guide dog for her 7-year-old son Colton, who was born four months early. She says this is Colton’s fifth egg hunt and events like these help visually-impaired kids feel more independent.
“That’s what we want for our kids – just to be like every other kid and have the independence and joy that they find in special holidays,” McCurdy said. “It just feels my heart with warmth because it brings him so much joy.”