More than 200 special needs children from 13 Hillsborough County schools were treated to an event filled with fun and exciting activities at GFWC Brandon Service League’s 21st Annual Very Special Arts on in February

In February, the GFWC Brandon Service League (BSL) held its 21st Annual Very Special Arts event at First Baptist Church of Brandon. Over 200 delighted pre-school and kindergarten age special needs children were treated to a variety of arts related activities.

This annual event was started by long time BSL member, Alice Storms, who said, “It is very gratifying to see all of the children at our event.”

The children, aided by BSL volunteers and students from Durant High School, could engage in fun and interactive activities such as hat making, face painting, six craft stations, bubbles, puppets and music making.

In addition to the activities, the children were entertained by the Chick-Fil-A Cow courtesy of Paul and Tammy Holmberg, owners of the Lake Brandon location. The Holmbergs also provided lunch for the volunteers. The Bloomingdale and Valrico McDonald’s (Caspers Co.) provided lunch for the children.

The 22 students from Durant High School who volunteered at this event are members of “Students All Connected.” Michelle Scolaro is their advisor. Scolaro said, “Students All Connected is a service club which focuses on children.” Scolaro explained, “All of the students are juniors or seniors who are extremely involved in the community. They are all high academic achievers with great attendance. Each year they look forward to coming to this event.”

Dianne Burnett, the VSA organizer for BSL said, “I love this event. Joining BSL was one of the best things I have ever done. I have met so many wonderful people. We have a great group of women.” Scolaro added, “This is an absolutely wonderful thing for both the young and older students. One Durant student who has attended has decided to go into Special Education.”

The GFWC Brandon Service League has been serving the greater Brandon area for over 50 years. The Very Special Arts event is just one of many service projects that the members undertake each year. If you would like more information on BSL, please visit their Website at

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