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Lanier Village Estates holds fifth annual Easter Egg Hunt for Challenged Child and Friends

POSTED: April 17, 2014 12:04 a.m.

The young and old, two humans dressed as a biddy and a bunny, some dogs for petting and a U.S. representative turned out Wednesday for the fifth annual Lanier Village Estates Easter Egg Hunt for Challenged Child and Friends.

The youngsters, more than 50 students from the inclusive Gainesville school that teaches developmentally delayed and disabled children alongside typical kids, made soap bubbles, had their faces painted, watched some magic and, finally, enthusiastically, hunted brightly colored Easter eggs on the grass between the retirement village, nursing home and assisted living buildings.

“The nursing facilities residents get the biggest bang out of watching the kids, and the kids like watching them,” said organizer Jean Sawyer, a Lanier Village resident. About 30 residents of WillowBrooke Court nursing home and OakBridge Terrace assisted living watched the children. Lanier Village residents brought about 10 dogs for the kids to pet. Others protected the clearly visible eggs from eager little hands before the hunt.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, his face painted with a yellow Easter chick emerging from a red egg, started the hunts for both age groups. The age-4 and older group pounded past the loudspeaker-wielding congressman and grabbed the traditionally dyed and hand-colored hard-boiled eggs the Lanier Village residents had made. The hunt was over faster than the time it takes to cook a three-minute egg.

“We found out the average challenged child was not usually invited to picnics or Easter egg hunts because they didn’t always act like the rest of the children,” Sawyer said.

Challenged Child and Friends Executive Director Dave Earnest said the event is always fun.

“They put so much love and attention into the details,” Earnest said. “I think they have as much fun as the kids.”


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