AMUSEMENT filled the air at Salvation Army School for the Blind on Monday after Kiwanis Club of New Kingston (KCNK) handed over a tactile wall to bring enjoyment to the students and enhance their sense of touch.
Seven-year-old Dianere Hibbert, who couldn’t contain his joy, said, “I am very happy about the wall and the toys. I love the toys because they are soft; they are every cool toys.”
Four-year-old Nathaniel McKenzie added, “I did get to touch the toys but not the wall as too many children were touching it. The toys are squishy and soft.”
The KCNK President Jhenell Allen told the Jamaica Observer that in addition to the tactile wall, ten walking canes and sensory toys were provided for the children at a discounted cost of $230,000.
“We came in to do the assessment and this year for KCNK, we had the aim of partnering with our Service Leadership Programme where Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts [EMCVPA] falls in. We found it fitting that in carrying out our goals we would reach out to them, and we were able to identify Michaella Garrick who was willing to do the job — even on the weekends,” she said.
“We decided to put this project under our ‘Skip a Meal’ initiative. It wasn’t something we were able to do before, and when we brought the idea to this school who identified that they were in need of some form of sensory initiative to help with the students, we shared our idea,” she said.
The artist Garrick, who recently completed her studies at EMCVPA, felt pleased about improving the sensory skills of the students through her artwork.
“It took about two months. The project was to have a tactile mirror so I wanted to include children to have them feel empowered. I put words on it to let them know they are smart, intelligent, and special and loved. I wanted them to feel their imagination coming to life,” she explained.
Meanwhile, Salvation Army School for the Blind administrator, Major Sandra Mitchell thanked KCNK for their kind efforts.
“We are so grateful when people come in to help us to make the lives of our children better. The Kiwanis Club did a wonderful job and I know the children appreciate it very much. They will identify the different objects and have fun with them,” she said.