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Special day for students

 

Music and laughter echoed through the Selma Convention Center Tuesday for the annual George Patrick Evans Specials Needs Golf Classic luncheon.

But it wasn’t just a luncheon. It was a “Paw Patrol” party celebrating special needs children in Selma and Dallas County.

The party is part of Evans’ golf tournament that has helped raise money each year since 2009 for the city and county schools’ special needs programs, Cahaba Mental Health Center and Easter Seals.

“It just brings a lot of joy to me to see them active, involved and happy and being able to sing and dance,” Evans said. “Every year they look forward to doing this and having fun and enjoying good food, games and activities.”

The Selma Convention Center was decorated with characters from the Nick Jr. Paw Patrol cartoon, and after the room filled with children, the fun started with music.

The children danced and sang along, and some even took the stage. Firefighters with the Selma Fire Department joined in dancing and singing along too to help put smiles on the children’s faces.

“When I see them smiling and dancing, it makes me want to dance, but I can’t dance like them,” Evans laughed. “They really enjoy it. I think it just takes them out of the framework of the school per say and puts them in this environment where they meet kids who are just like them and they just share that joy of being together.”

The party is held each year the day before the golf tournament, and it never fails to be a hit with the children.

“You’ve got a cross-section of our community and different programs within the city that are all coming together and just having fun just like a family,” Evans said.

“They’re critical and important to our future, and we recognize them and identify them and let them know that they’re part of this huge family of all of us and they play a role in our success as well.”

The tournament started in Evans’ first term as mayor in 2009, and even though he is no longer mayor, specials needs children still hold a special place in his heart due to his 35 years spent in education. Evans said he spent several years over the county’s special education program.

“I’m happy that we’re able to carry this tradition on,” Evans said. Evans said as long as sponsors continue to give back and golfers keep playing in the tournament, he hopes to keep it going.

Last year, according to Evans, the classic was able to give back $10,000 to the four programs, and this year he is hoping for at least that or more.

“The state has cut back and federal government has cut back on funding for them, and this money comes in with no strings attached,” he said.

“They can do what they need to be able to do for the children in their programs to help them.”