By Kathy L. Collins
On Tuesday, February 19, the GFWC Brandon Service League (BSL) held its annual Very Special Arts event at First Baptist Church of Brandon. This gives pre-school aged special needs children an opportunity to go on a fun field day filled with arts and crafts and entertainment.
The children are aided in their crafts and entertainment by volunteers from BSL and students from Durant High School’s “Students All Connected.” This year the children got to make polar bear masks, hats, get their face or hand painted, watch a puppet show and much more.
An event such as this is made possible because of the BSL and several other businesses and organizations. The Caspers Company provided lunch for the children and a visit with Ronald McDonald. Paul and Tammy Holmberg, owners of the Chick-fil-A at Lake Brandon Village, provided lunch for the volunteers and the ever popular Chik-fil-A cow for photos. Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources Systems (FDLRS) coordinated the buses so that the children could come to the event. First Baptist Church of Brandon provided the facility.
This annual event was started by long-time BSL member, Alice Storms, who was unable to attend the event this year due to illness. In her place, her granddaughter, Kaley Storms, 13, assisted the children with the polar bear masks. Storms said, “It’s been fun helping the kids and being here in my grandmother’s place.”
Holly Lampo, a teacher with Riverview Elementary said, “I enjoy this event. It is great for the kids especially the socialization. The students from Durant High School are great for the kids.”
Dianne Forester, President of BSL said, “This is my favorite activity. I was a junior when Alice Storms started this event. It is an amazing project for children who do not normally get to go on field trips.”
Cindy Martin, the VSA Project Chair for BSL said, “It’s been so exciting knowing how much the children look forward to this event. It is a very fulfilling project.”
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 www.gfwcbrandonserviceleague.org.