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Angel in our Midst (Daisy Eddins)
PENSACOLA -- Students in one Santa Rosa County classroom are on the M.O.V.E they're getting mobility opportunities via education.
These little ones face a large number of developmental and physical challenges.
Two teachers have sought out a place where the children can make great strides even if it means a little more work for these Angels in our Midst.
Daisy Eddins, Adapted Physical Educator; I was out swimming in the pool one day and I thought, Wow, I feel great. I'm just free, I can float, everything feels good. And that's when God said, You need to do this for these kids.
Let's go to the water.
Adaptive Physical Education Teacher Daisy Eddins set out to do what she was led to do, take her special needs children to the water. Her classroom teacher at Russell Elementary was right on board.
Betty Whitaker; Exceptional Education Teacher; We have cerebral palsy; we have Rhett Syndrome, we have hearing impaired, vision impaired;
The list of exceptionalities goes on and on but the ultimate goal for each child is the same and each one finds a measure of comfort and healing in the water.
Daisy Eddins, Adapted Physical Educator; How can we help them have more movement? How can we help them being freer from their wheelchairs, from gait trainers, right? How can we get their legs stronger and their muscles looser?
Betty; One little guy with his tight, tight arm, when he gets out of the pool, he can move that arm where he couldn't move it before.
With all of the promise that going to the pool holds for these children, budgets are still tight and money was not available for these trips. Ms. Eddins and Ms. Whitaker hold fundraisers to pay for the bus transportation and it was the mission that pulled on the hearts of the Knights of Columbus to cover the pool costs.
John Recke, Knights of Columbus Council 7027; It was the kids because they're in school and some of them are financially strapped and we have the money. So, they came and they asked us and the council approved it.
It's all hand son deck for the outings; the bus driver, parents, community volunteers. Everyone pitches in to make sure every child is in the pool. It's a partnership that is producing little miracles one step at a time.
Daisy; He actually took some of his first steps independently, in the water. When he walks on land, he's kind of bobbly this way. In the water, when he would lean, the water would push back against him, this way; he was just walking right along.
Betty; I don't want them being put in a corner and left. I want them in the world so they can do what all the other kids are doing. I want them to be outside and to be able to play and laugh and see the other kids play. And play to the best of their ability.
While it's a big responsibility and a lot of work; from fundraising to recruiting help, to changing and redressing the children, daisy says every part of the journey is worth it.
Daisy; Just seeing them smile and play and have some freedom to move around. Oh, excuse me. Got to get your hands in the water. Speaking of playing; he's going to play right now.
Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.