USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Sailors volunteered at Gatewood Preschool for Educating Exceptional People (PEEP) during the school’s 7th annual carnival, Nov. 17.
Sailors from TR’s First Class Petty Officers Association, Second Class Petty Officers Association, and Junior Enlisted Association joined forces to help Gatewood PEEP faculty and staff put on an exciting day of fun for the students.
“These children already have certain physical and mental hardships that other children do not have to deal with, so the least we can do is provide them with a reason to smile and forget about their disabilities,” said Machinist’s Mate Fireman Sabrina Estrella.
“Most carnival-type events are not developmentally appropriate for children with special needs,” said Program Administrator Heather Jankovich, Ed.S. “The carnival is a good way to provide fun, safe activities for the students while meeting them on their level.”
The carnival featured a bounce house, petting zoo, face painting, clowns, balloon animals and many educational activities for the students and their families.
Newport News Fire Department personnel attended the carnival and featured their mobile home EDITH, “Exit Drills In The Home,” to teach students how to properly navigate and escape their homes in the event of a fire. They also let the students sit in the fire truck and play with the fire hoses.
This year’s carnival theme was career-oriented, so each activity station at the carnival represented a different career. While each station provided a fun activity for the children, the stations were also educational, giving the students a window to the future of the endless possibilities of career opportunities that exist to them.
The fall carnival is one of many volunteer opportunities TR Sailors participated in as part of the ongoing relationship TR has with Gatewood. Theodore Roosevelt Sailors have provided support to Gatewood in the past by cleaning the school’s memorial garden, reading to students, and giving students teddy bears provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Association.
“We are thankful for the members of the PTA, faculty/staff, community, and Theodore Roosevelt Sailors for donating their time today, because we couldn’t have done this without your help,” said Jankovich.
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Tyrell K. Morris, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs
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