By Ke’Una Gates and Tyler Agnew
Crusaders have once again shown their kindness and willingness to give back to the community.
The university hosted an event entitled InKidAble in partnership with the Children’s Special Needs Network Oct. 13 in an effort to bring awareness of the assistance and resources in the area designed for special needs caregivers.
The program provided resources and information to the parents and caregivers of special needs children.
Since the conference was free and open to the public many families were afforded the opportunity to learn more about nurturing their children.
Assistant Professor of education Dr. Kris Ward headed the event.
She said, “The mission of the conference is to provide an opportunity for parents to network with each other and to learn more about raising a child with a disability.”
There was a big turnout with more than 100 children coming to the event. One obstacle from having so many attendees was childcare.
“We want to provide child care for them so that they can come. It’s hard to find child care for a child with a severe disability,” Ward said. “So for that purpose we completely met our goal. Every single child had at least one if not two Mary Hardin-Baylor students to keep them entertained and safe all day long so that their parents could go to the conference.”
Each worker was trained to ensure that all chidren would be safe. The volunteers were a huge blessing to the families they served.
Sophomore nursing major Katie Clemmer said, “I decided to volunteer because I love children, and I want to get involved more on campus.”
Like many acts of service, the giver is affected just as the receiver is.
Clemmer gained a lot from spending time with the special needs attendees.
She said, “I learned that God’s love can be expressed in the simplest of ways and just how appreciative the parents were to have college students take time out to do so.”
The event was created in an effort not only to reach out, but assure the caregivers of special needs children that others are going through the same obstacles.
It was organized to teach the parents about any scenario they might encounter.
“Breakout sessions included grief process, working with schools, accessing resources and networking,” Ward said.
Many different groups got involved in InKidAble. From churches to entire departments, many came to lend a hand.
The music department got involved as music majors, provided music teachings and game interactions while the parents were in their sessions.
“We value the mission of this conference and give attention and help for parents and children affected by special needs,” Associate Professor and music Chairperson Dr. Mark Aaron Humphrey said.
Bringing awareness to different issues and being a part of helping is something Crusaders are proving to be compassionate about.
“Our students want to do this. They ask for more interaction like this,” Humphrey said.
There are several resources for families with special needs children, and part of the event was to provide that knowledge.
Ward said, “We hope the parents can learn more about the disability of children and resources and agencies that are here to help.”