Seventy children from the Blind Children’s Learning Center spent the Friday morning of Easter weekend hunting for beeping eggs built by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Bomb Squad.
“It’s perfect,” said Jay Livelo, who attended the event with his 2 1/2-year-old son, Gavin, a student at the Santa Ana-based school, and his wife, Tracie. “The Bomb Squad – it’s so cool.”
This is the third year the sheriff’s department has partnered with the school for the Easter egg hunt, for which 48 colorful 2-inch plastic eggs were placed in a grassy area of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort in Newport Beach for the children to find.
The Bomb Squad, officially known as the Hazardous Devices Section and including 18 bomb technicians, built the eggs from kits provided by the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, Bomb Squad Sgt. Randy Sterett said. The kits contain the plastic eggs, wires, and buzzers.
“And we have bomb techs and reserves put them together,” Sterett said.
He said National Charity League volunteers helped place the eggs for the children to hunt. The children searched for the eggs in small groups based on their age. Each child was accompanied by an adult parent or volunteer. Many were holding more than one egg.
“They’ll try to get as many as they can,” he said.
Children also had the chance to meet some of the Bomb Squad members, three of which brought their Bomb Squad dogs.
Sterett said the bomb technicians enjoy participating in the event, and the team also attends the students’ graduation ceremonies.
“We get to see these kids year after year, grow up,” he said.
Once the event is over, the school gets to keep the beeping eggs for use as training aids.
“We can use them for tools in classrooms,” said Carolyn Baker, director of development for the Blind Children’s Learning Center.
And if they have any extras, they can give the eggs to parents to use at home. She said they are great tactile teaching aids for the visually-impaired and blind students at the school. She added that the event itself is a good way to get the kids outdoors and interacting with their environment.
“And the sheriffs have just been incredible partners,” she said. “You can see the kids just love it.”
The students received an Easter basket filled with candy and toys donated by the AT&T Pioneers volunteer organization. The Easter bunny also made an appearance for some photo opportunities. The event ended with a beachfront picnic provided by Newport Dunes’ Back Bay Bistro.
“It kind of normalizes them in the sense that they can still do an Easter egg hunt,” Jay Livelo said of the event. “We can make these kids at least for one day feel like regular kids.”