Children enjoy special setting to meet first responders
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Families of children with special needs were welcomed to meet Marlborough first responders April 5 in the library at 1Lt. Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School. The relaxed setting of the after-school event was an opportunity for children to comfortably mingle with police, firefighters and ambulance emergency medical technicians.
The children could also choose to get photographed with them. Families could allow the photo to be incorporated into a storyboard, which will be overseen by the student’s school special needs teacher.
Billed as a “Community Unity Event,” the evening was the brainchild of Rebecca Daugherty. Her son Riley is living with autism and a seventh-grader at Whitcomb Middle School.
“Having a picture of our children with first responders reminds us that they are safe people,” Daugherty explained. “To quote Will Rogers, ‘A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.’”
The evening event came to fruition when Daugherty shared her idea with Terri Taylor, co-chair of Marlborough Special Education Parent Advisory Council (M-SEPAC).
Assisting them was Reina Rago, communications coordinator of Marlborough Public Schools (MPS).
“We’re very pleased with the turnout and positive response,” Rago noted. “We hope that this event will become a model for other communities to follow.”
Families were introduced to Police Chief David Giorgi, who noted that it was his third day working as the new chief of the Marlborough Police Department. Also mingling among the families were school officials Maureen Greulich, superintendent; Heather Geary, special education director; John Fletcher, special education assistant director; and Brian Daniels, Whitcomb Middle School principal.
Volunteers interacted with the children by playing games and serving them refreshments. Helping throughout the evening were fourth-graders of Girl Scout Troop 78139, and members of Marlborough High School National Honor Society and Marlborough Junior Woman’s Club.
The event was co-sponsored by MPS and M-SEPAC. Families spoke with representatives of Thrive Support and Advocacy, formerly known as Greater Marlborough Projects Inc. The nonprofit organization offers services to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in and beyond the Metrowest area.
The organizers are hopeful that the event will be held annually.
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