By Christine Baker, TSB Contributor
On the corner of College and Lamar, St. Peters Episcopal Church’s Vacation Bible School for special needs youth is selling lemonade for $1. The money is being raised for mosquito nets in Mali and the kids and volunteers are working hard this Monday- Thursday from 11a.m. to noon to raise as much money as possible while having fun.
“Our vacation bible school that was a few years ago rasied money for the mosquito nets and we decided ‘Hey, why not? We can do this, too, with our kids,’ ” Kathy Garrett said.
The program started a year ago and had eight attendants. This year they have grown immensely more popular with 18 registered special needs youth members. There is not an age limit on the program, as all ages and all forms of special needs are happily welcomed. The church and its wonderful volunteers provide activities for the youth such as movies, games, and going on the playground.
“Their new favorite game is one where we cover a table with shaving cream and let the kids draw in it.” Garrett said. “They love it.”
The program is not just for one week during the summer, but also available during the school year every second Saturday from 3-6 p.m. Parents can drop off their special needs children and their siblings to enjoy games and activities while getting to bond with others.
“The 2×2 is a thing we do here where the kids are all paired up with a buddy,” Garrett said. “We try and keep everyone with the same buddies so they can build strong relationships.”
The volunteers are of all ages, even as young as 7. The special needs children are placed into a fun environment where they can be themselves and build strong and positive relationships with others.
“Its great because the bigger kids are caring for the little ones,” Julie Newton said. “You have 20-year-olds bonding with 7-year-olds and it’s great.”
“I really like helping kids with special needs,” Desi Caswell said. “I do it at school and it’s something I’m really passionate about.”
The Vacation Bible School at St. Peter’s for the special needs youth does a phenomenal job making the kids feel like a part of a family, and they would love to have more participants and volunteers. There is no restriction on age and you don’t have to be from McKinney. Participants also come from around the area to be a part of this family.
Don’t forget to go buy some refreshing lemonade from these stellar volunteers at the corner of College and Lamar Thursday June, 28th to help raise money for mosquito nets in Mali!