Get the Giggles, a local charity that provides free learning and socialization activities to local children with disabilities, hosted an annual fundraiser in Vernal on June 8.
The Kentucky Derby Days fundraiser included a bounce house, carnival games, and vendor booths. A highlight was the appearance of Panacea Equine, a company that brings miniature horses out to work with the disabled. The children were able to lead them around the corral, pet them, and even paint one using non-toxic finger paints.
“My Dad was disabled,” says Erin Workman, Get the Giggles’ founder. “And trying to find the help he needed here was really difficult. We had to drive three hours out of town. Two years ago, he passed away. I took some of the life insurance and put it towards the kids. I wanted to provide some of the services these kids need here in town, and some of the interaction that they would otherwise miss out on.”
“We have lots of fun doing activities with disabled kids and their families,” says Patrice Waters, one of the volunteers. “This is our second year. This event is helping Fisher Kidd, one of the kids in our program. He has cerebral palsy and had to have surgeries on his legs down in Texas. The proceeds are helping with medical and travel costs.”
Get the Giggles focuses on sensory activities that build fine motor skills, like searching for coins in a mound of shaving cream, craft days, music days, yoga, and art classes. It also helps them learn how to socialize in groups and have fun with other children in social settings where they are free to be themselves in a judgment free environment.
All activities and support groups are free to disabled children and their families. In the future they want to add speech therapies and physical therapies to their available resources.
Workman works a full-time job and currently pays for all of the Get the Giggles activities herself. She hopes that events like the Kentucky Derby Days will get other people interested in the program. If anyone would like to get involved as a participant, donor, or volunteer, they can contact Workman on their Facebook Page: @getthegiggles2018.