Hampton Moose Lodge EPIC Toy Donation Will Help Children Reach Developmental Milestones

VersAbility members stand and smile behind toys from the Hampton Moose Lodge toy donation

An EPIC (pun intended) donation by the Hampton Moose Lodge will make a difference for families and children served by VersAbility Resources.

The local lodge donated $2,000 to purchase new toys for the nonprofit’s EPIC program, which stands for Early Prevention and Intervention for Children Program. EPIC supports families with infants or toddlers experiencing developmental delays by coordinating tailored therapy to help every child reach his or her potential.

EPIC offers free developmental screenings for any child living in Hampton and Newport News under the age of 3. Referrals come from Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia when a child may not be reaching developmental milestones. Parents can seek an assessment for a multitude of reasons; it’s never too early for intervention. All it takes is a 25% delay in one developmental area to qualify a child for services. A child can also qualify due to a diagnosed condition that could lead to a developmental delay in the future or atypical development which is the quality of how a developmental skill is being performed.

If a delay is found, therapists from the EPIC program work with children one-on-one in their homes, parks, Grandma’s house or wherever the child spends time. EPIC empowers parents and caregivers to take the lead, so progress is made between appointments. The child will be gifted one or more toys that target the specific area needed for development.

The assortment of toys include stacking rings, potato heads, contrast books and blocks, shape sorters and educational ones from LeapFrog and VTech.

Stacks of new unopened toys sitting on tables from the Hampton Moose Lodge toy donation

“These toys are going to be such a blessing for the families who receive them,” said Robin Drummond, Manager of the EPIC program. “Some of them help promote imaginary play and hand-eye coordination. Some promote problem-solving skills, manipulating small objects and motor and sensory development.”

Black, white and red visual contrast books will help children who are experiencing visual delays. These books will help newborns and infants develop focus, attention span and concentration. The toys that make sounds promote interaction, which is a pathway to developing communication skill. Some toys promote crawling and others, walking.

Typically, EPIC Support Coordinators work with what a family already has at home.

“These are going to mean so much to the families who receive them,” Drummond said.

The donation idea stems from Renee’ Rose, Chief Operations Officer at VersAbility, talking with her longtime partner, Ed Frankiewicz, Administrator of the Hampton Moose Lodge. He suggested to the members of the lodge that they donate money for the toy purchase. Newport News Moose Lodge will also donate $1,250 in toys.

Added Drummond, “We’re so appreciative.”

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