- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

SELMA, Ala. (AP) - Special needs children from across Selma and Dallas County gathered Tuesday for a party in celebration of themselves.

Selma Mayor George Evans started the Mayor’s Charity Golf Classic Luncheon in honor of special needs children - to recognize them and give them the chance to have fun with other kids.

Children from Selma City Schools, Dallas County Schools, Early Intervention, Easter Seals and Selma Disability Advocacy Center all participated Tuesday.

“I always said if I could get a chance to do something and give back to (the special needs children) I would,” Evans said.

“When I became mayor, then I decided this is an opportunity now to start a program for the children to recognize them - to thank them for who they are and thank the parents for their children because they are all important.”

Evans said he has always loved being around special needs children and even had the opportunity to work with them while an educator.

“This is the fifth year for this program, and every year it’s just really wonderful,” Evans said. “It just makes me very happy. I feel good about something that we’re doing that not everybody else does.”

The children laughed, danced, sang and had a great time being the life of the party.

The theme this year was western wear, as the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center turned back the clock to the Wild West. The kids were given hats, bandanas and badges before taking on the roles of cowboys and sheriffs.

“(The best part is) when we get to interact with the kids and get up and dance with them and just see them out there having a good time,” said Shabra Kidd, director of the Downtown Selma Association. “It just makes my heart feel good because I’m able to help other children.”

During the event, Sparky the Fire Dog visited the children and even showed off a few moves on the dance floor.

“They just really love it. Their little faces just glow, and they just get out and dance,” Kidd said. “It’s just a lot of fun for the children.”

The event is sure to continue bringing smiles to their faces for years to come.

“It just gives me a joy and a pleasure to know that we bring a smile on their face, a sense of joy in being here and being happy,” Evans said. “It makes me happy to see them happy.”

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Information from: Times Journal, https://www.selmatimesjournal.com/

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