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The playground of the Blind Children’s Center at 4120 Marathon St. was roped off with colorful streamers last week.
Pink Easter eggs dotted the equipment and the rubberized surface of the play area at the nonprofit, which serves about 100 children, some of whom are visually impaired, who range from birth to second grade.
Instead of candy, the eggs at the Blind Children’s Center are filled with beeping electronics, courtesy of AT&T Pioneers, a charity that’s funded in part by the telecommunications company.
The noise allows both visually impaired and sighted students at the center to partake in some of the most popular spring festivities, said Sarah Orth, the center’s CEO.
“It’s another way for us to have that tradition with the students but also adapt to meet their needs,” Orth said.
Even though there’s no chocolate or jellybeans, each kid receives a basket full of games and toys from the Easter Bunny, who was portrayed by Jackie Huerta, an occupational therapist intern at the school. And once the hunt is over, the children enjoyed the actual bunnies, as well as a chicken and a duck, at a petting zoo set up in the school’s gazebo.
Orth said the event can help alleviate some of the stress parents feel from raising a visually impaired child.
“One of the things that makes our center really special is that it’s not just about the child, it’s about the whole family, and it’s about building community,” she said.
Aida Raha, the mother of 3-year-old twins Aquila, who is sighted, and Kalifa, who is visually impaired, said the small class size and student-focused staff make the center a special place.
“I’m very, very satisfied with this school and how nice the teachers are … They treat you as a family,” she said.
Xiomara Roman, whose 3-year-old son, Zebastian, is sighted but attends the school, said the school has helped her son “understand people from all walks of life.”
“It’s a great way for my children to explore with other children,” she said.
And through programs like the beeping egg hunt and another event at Christmas, the children also meet officers from LAPD’s Rampart Division.
Senior Lead Officer Rob Solorio said there’s more to the job than chasing suspects. It’s also about bridging the gap between the police and the public.
“What’s most rewarding to us is interacting with the community that we serve, coming out from behind the badge and letting them get to know us as a person,” he said.
Representatives from AT&T Pioneers and members of the Delta Gamma female fraternity, the organization that founded the nonprofit center in 1938, were also on hand to help the kids.
Dan McCrory, president of the Pacific Chapter of AT&T Pioneers, said his group is already working on how to improve next year’s event, possibly by adding a painting station.
“It’s a very uplifting and positive experience,” he said. “Knowing that we had a part of this makes it really special.”
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