Cahaba Center holds Christmas event

Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Theresa Hargett, Linda Hogue and Marvin Hale are shown at Wednesday’s program at the Cahaba Center for Mental Health.

Theresa Hargett, Linda Hogue and Marvin Hale are shown at Wednesday’s program at the Cahaba Center for Mental Health.

By Blake Deshazo

The Selma Times-Journal

Christmas came early this year for the Cahaba Center for Mental Health.

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The center held it’s annual Christmas program Wednesday. It’s a tradition that unites the community and the adults with developmental disabilities that go to the center.

“Everybody that’s come in said it wouldn’t be Christmas without coming out here,” said Lafon Barlow, the center’s executive director. “They say this puts them in the Christmas mood because of how much our people love Christmas.”

Whether it is making holiday-themed ceramics or practicing their favorite Christmas tunes, the adults at the center spend most of the year preparing for this one day.

“It takes our folks all year long to paint some of the ceramics,” Barlow said. “It’s not something that just two weeks ago they started doing. They work on their singing all year too. I’ll hear Jingle Bells in my office in July.”

The holiday celebration is well known throughout Selma for the beautiful handcrafted ceramics made by the adults. But Barlow said there is more to the program than meets the eye.

“It’s not about selling (ceramics) really,” Barlow said. “It’s just about giving them a chance to share with the community. They like getting dressed up. They like being able to sing and share what they’ve been learning, and they’re proud.”

The center works with the adults by helping them complete simple daily tasks.

“We focus on their abilities and what they can do, whether it’s singing or painting or whatever they do,” said Barlow. “What might not seem like a lot to someone else, I know how much effort it takes them to be able to sing Christmas carols and that kind of thing.”

The program is something the adults look forward to.

“I enjoy coming here and helping with the Christmas program,” said Michelle Barrett, who attends the center. “They help me out a lot, so I enjoy helping them.”

Michelle works on painting the ceramics by putting the small details on them before they are ready to sell. It’s the work of her and others that puts a smile on the faces of people who work at the center.

“They really try hard, and I’m just proud of their effort,” Barlow said. “If I’m having a down day, all I’ve got to do is walk up stairs because they always have a smile on their face, and they are always happy to see you.”