November - From the Director

For the last two years, the pandemic shut down one of our most favorite days of the year. But on Oct. 28, we were back!

In partnership with Olive Baptist Church, we welcomed nearly 300 children with special needs and disabilities to the Little Pumpkins Jamboree. This hands-on festival of fun engaged costumed kids with the Y, Olive, and more than a dozen partners who created a magical morning of music, play, crafts, food, and lots of treats.

Pam Cebula with the Escambia County School District summed it up in two words: pure joy. “The expressions of happiness and delight on the faces of our students was incredible!” she said. “Students, teachers, teacher assistants and the ECPS Exceptional Student Education Department had an amazing day. Thank you for helping to provide this wonderful childhood experience for our students!”

The district and ESE Department identified the children, who represented 13 elementary schools in the county. They provided bus transportation to Olive’s campus, where businesses, civic groups, nonprofit agencies and church teams had created themes such as “Frozen,” superheroes, Toy Story, the game Candyland, and the Peanuts gang. They built balloon arches, prepared hands-on activities, and loaded up the treats. Everyone ended up in the Recreation Outreach Center, where Olive Baptist provided a kid-friendly lunch, and the children made crafts, had their faces painted, and enjoyed balloon art, music, and a photo booth.

Along the way, the children interacted with larger-than-life characters such as Maverick from the Ice Flyers, the Chick-fil-A cow, and Disney heroes. “There were a few kids who ran up to our Buzz Lightyear and gave her a big hug, said Amanda Morgan, with Navy Federal Credit Union. “It absolutely made my day seeing them so happy.”

Sharon Carter with Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance echoed the sentiment. “We had a blast and are already talking about our theme for next year!”

We appreciate all those who contributed to the success of this event, especially our community partner, the team at Olive Baptist Church, who joyfully opened their doors and their hearts to our event and to these very special children.

Thank you to ALL of our partners!
Brightstar Care of Pensacola
Early Learning Coalition
Escambia High School NJROTC
Fisher Brown Bottrell
Five Flags Rotary
Gulf Breeze Key Club
Kiwanis Club of Pensacola
Lakeview Autism Center
Lutheran Services
Navy Federal Credit Union - Business Services Team
PSC Interact Club
The Demps Team at Levin Rinke Realty
United Way West Florida
Our Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.