Nearly 100 children and adults with disabilities from around the Atlanta area and their families attended the third annual Carnival for Children with Disabilities on Saturday, September 17, 2016. They spent a recent Saturday afternoon riding ponies, climbing in a fire truck, playing miniature golf, singing to karaoke, playing games and more while eating snow cones, candy and popcorn. The carnival was sponsored by the youth ages 12-18 from the Conyers Georgia Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were assisted by members of the Heritage High School National Honor Society. The carnival was held at the church building located at 1275 Flat Shoals Road, Conyers, Georgia.
When Faith, a 9 year old with autism, was asked what her favorite thing had been, she eagerly shared that it was catching candy! Her sisters, 5 and 8 years old, loved riding the ponies as well as eating popcorn. Joseph Palmer, 10 years old and a student at Flat Shoals Elementary, smiled while his mother Lorraine shared, “He’s having a great time.”
Myles Henderson, 15 years old and a student at Henderson Middle School in Atlanta, DeKalb County, was quick to point out the fact that his name and the school’s was the same. He did not want to have his picture taken holding his snow cone so he quickly gave it to his mother in order to have his picture taken with his individual peer guides, Andres Hernandez, 17, a student at Charles Drew High School in Riverdale and Noe Cortes, 15, a student at Elite Scholars Academy in Morrow.
Sonya Morrison, who has a daughter with spina bifida, commented, “We felt so much love from the youth and their leaders. Parents of children with disabilities sometimes feel like they are working alone so events like this are important to show that there are others who care.” Another said, “This is the third year we have come. It is always a good event.”
Clark Hanson, 14, from Covington stated, “The experience as being a guide for a person with special needs was great. It just broadens your understanding of special need kids a lot. I used to think that they just were totally in a different world, but they understand a lot more than we think. I also realized that things like these are not just for special needs kids to have fun; it’s for us to learn more about them and to grow and be more aware of [them] and what they can actually do.”