A bright yellow school bus filled with excited children from the Blind Children’s Learning Center arrived at the Newport Dunes waterfront resort on Friday, April 19 to participate in the Easter tradition of egg hunting — but with a twist.
These special Easter eggs are made by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) Bomb Squad and they beep, allowing kids with visual impairments to find them.
“It’s really fun being here because it’s an outing for the kids and it’s just really awesome how excited they are,” OCSD Volunteer Kyra Shedd said. “Every kid deserves to find an Easter egg.”
The eggs are hard plastic, brightly colored, and have a switch at the bottom. Each egg takes about 25 minutes to make.
“The International Association of Bomb Investigators provides the materials like the plastic egg, switch, battery, and wires,” OCSD Sgt. Randy Sterett said. “Then my bomb techs put them all together and we deliver them here.”
The students broke off into groups hunting for eggs based on age. This allows all of the kids a fair shot at finding some eggs.
In addition to being a fun activity for children, the egg hunt helps teachers gage where the students are in their learning.
“It’s even good for me because it makes sure my kids that aren’t fully blind know what colors are and if we’re working with a kid who may have a specific auditory issue, having that tracking of where exactly the beeping is and watching their head movement is really good practice,” said Blind Children’s Learning Center Teacher Vivinana Abundies.
The Easter egg hunt is one of the students’ favorite activities every year.
“Field trips are an important part of their education,” said Libby Hawkes, Fund Development Associate at the Blind Children’s Learning Center. “They do regular field trips throughout the year but this is their most anticipated one and it also helps them learn more about the community and get some time to be social with each other, which adds a lot of variety to their curriculum.”
The students were accompanied by a parent or teacher during the hunt and were joined by Orange County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad K9 Noel Gonzalez.
Families from all different backgrounds came to participate and enjoy time together.
“For a lot of our families with special needs children, this is just a great day for them to create memories, take photos, enjoy lunch together like any other family would this weekend,” Hawkes said.
“My son loves to interact with the kids and play on the swings” parent Elizabeth Vega said. “It’s really nice to have a place where he can get out and get used to using his cane and it’s a holiday so I like that they are included.”
After the egg hunt was over the students could take pictures with the Easter bunny and enjoy a beachside picnic with their parents and teachers.
“Just being here and watching kids get excited with smiles on their faces really makes it all worth it,”OCSD Reserve Officer Rick Edgmon said.