“All of the people who work at AIB are just tickled to death when we see (the kids) because they really get into it,” AIB’s Celeni Sasser said. “We just go all out and decorate. Last year, we did ‘The Wizard of Oz’ as our theme and the kids just loved it.”
Staff members spent the bulk of five evenings after work decorating and preparing their section of the building as a replica of the fabled town depicted in the Dr. Seuss book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” in preparation for the eager eyes, ears and hands of students from the Alabama School for the Deaf, Alabama School for the Blind and Helen Keller School of Alabama.
For the fully blind students who won’t receive the visual effects of the displays, Sasser explained the teachers will escort them through the scenery and give them descriptions in detail while they use their sense of touch to get a feel for their surroundings.
“Most of the kids are familiar with the stories, so their teachers can tell them when they’re walking under glistening snowflakes or when something’s happening around them,” Sasser said. “Their little eyes just light up — not just because they’re getting candy. I think they just love the fact there’s a group of grown-ups who are silly enough to go all out.”
Lisa Bonner, a customer service representative for AIB, stressed they wanted to choose a theme for the year that was more inclusive.
“We just tried to think of something that could involve everyone equally so that everyone’s part is just as important and there’s not just one person who the event is centered on — well, except the Grinch, of course,” Bonner said. “Whoville is big group of people and we have a big group of people, so that way we could involve everybody.”
Sasser credited the staff as a whole for putting forth the effort to make this event happen.
“Everyone chips in by bringing craft (materials),” Sasser said. “We do what it takes to make this event successful. We’re also fortunate enough to get one of our wholesalers to donate candy each year. We send them pictures of the event in return. They’re big supporters of (the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind) and AIB.”
Each department in AIB, including the supply store downstairs, also contributes candy for the cause.
“The (kids) go away with a big stash of candy from us,” Bonner said.
The event provides Sasser and Bonner an opportunity to spend time with the students they normally wouldn’t have while allowing them to carry themselves in an eccentric manner.
“We’re pretty much crazy and silly every day,” Bonner said. “We just pout it on thicker for Halloween.”
Contact Shane Dunaway at email@example.com