Chris Bodden, Gleaner Writer
The Hanover Educational Institute (HEI) hosted its 11th Christmas treat for some special children at the Lucea Learning Centre in Hanover on Tuesday.
The school's director, Angela Haye, said: "This outreach programme has been in place since the inception of the school".
"Every year since then, the Hanover Educational Institute's students have been intricately involved in the planning, organising and execution of this programme.
"They performed for them; singing Christmas carols, and interacted with them.
"They talk to the kids and assist the ones who cannot feed themselves and so on", said Haye.
The energetic youngsters also got a chance to showcase their talents, dancing up a storm. This no doubt helped to work up a hearty appetite for the sumptuous meal of rice and peas and chicken.
The children at the learning centre also had ice cream and, to top it all off, were presented with cool gifts as well as educational material and school supplies.
"The students appreciate the input. We tell them that they are special, but when others come in such as HEI and let them know that they are special, it really gives them a boost.
"I feel good seeing the expressions on their faces, said Nicola East, special educator, who was acting on the day for Unit Supervisor Debra Bryson-Jones.
"The gifts also assist the parents, too, as come January, they won't have to buy new supplies," she said.
Haye explained that participation also came from the Rotaract Club of Hanover, the Peace Corps, and the National Commercial Bank.
"They [the children] were in awe as we sang, danced and interacted with all, but most important, they were very delighted to receive their gifts which were usually delivered by Santa Claus," said Haye.
Haye also thanked Traveller's Beach Resort, St Anthony's Kitchen, Green Island Supermart, students and staff of the Hanover Educational Institute and the Lucea Learning Centre, Natural Flavours Catering & Events and the media.
The Lucea Learning Centre is a branch of the Llandilo School of Special Education and caters to children with intellectual disabilities. The school accepts children up to the age of 20 and has 47 charges from 6-17 years old.