OLNEY, Md. - Dozens of kids gathered from across
The carnival is put on every year by members of the Project Change Club, a youth empowerment group that specializes in leadership experiences and community outreach.
"There's different parts of it," said Project Change Club member Leya Givvines. "We do after school care, we do meals on wheels, we do a bunch of non-profit organization things. We help in every way we can."
Although the high school volunteers are rewarded with community service hours for helping out, their real motivation is much deeper, especially for students like Katherine Sherwood who is using this time with special needs kids to prepare for a career in nursing.
"Seeing these kids and how they respond to certain things helps me understand what they need," said Sherwood.
The carnival was split into two areas.
One was a loud environment, including a moon bounce, basketball, bowling and soccer.
The other was a place of peace with play-doh, face painting and bead making tables.
“The parents really love having this opportunity for their children with special needs to have a place to come and engage with the older students,” said Project Change Executive Director Robin Holstein-Glass.
Project Change also includes programs in anti-bullying, student leadership and performing arts activities.