Monday, May 14, 2007
COREY'S SPECIAL DAY AT THE FARM
Here in Western Washington we have a very special family who, 40 years ago, took some puppies to their son's special needs class. They quickly discovered that most of the children had never really been around animals. They invited the class to come to their family farm to see real animals up close. The kids had a wonderful time and some amazing connections were made. The Corey's decided to continue to offer their home for the field trip. Soon other schools heard about the day and asked if they could join in. Before long, the project had to be moved to the county fair grounds. The Corey's asked their friends and neighbors to pitch in and farmers from around the county showed up with their tractors, horses, bunnies, chickens, barbecues, and families to spend the day with special needs children.
Today was the 40th annual Corey's Special Day at the Farm. With the help of several service clubs, our special ed PTO raised the money to send 7 buses with 100 (pre-school to high school) Students and 60 Teachers, Paraeducators, Therapists and Parents on the 1.5 hour trip. Schools from 4 different counties are invited to participate. There were horseback and pony rides, hay rides, a petting zoo, tractors to climb on, a cowboy clown making balloon animals, llama's and other animals to pet, the army reserves were there to pose for pictures and let the kids climb all over their rig, a roping demonstration and class, musical acts, tee-shirts, pictures and a hot-dog lunch all free to every special needs child who attended.
The kids had a blast. Everyone participated to the level they felt comfortable with. Nobody noticed much when there was crying or tantrum or unusual behaviors. It was a very liberating public experience. Over the years, the volunteers have also come to love this event. Many have commented that working at Cory's Day has completely changed the way they look at disability.
This was Little Frog's first year to attend. He was not too sure about participating, and waiting in line was a little too much to ask. But he seemed to be taking it all in. He did ride a pony for about five seconds. The volunteer helped him get down and brought him back to his teacher. Later, when we asked him about riding the horse - he got the biggest smile on his face!
Thank You Corey Family - you have created quite a legacy.