Kids find joy painting SAE lion statue

By Will Polston, WDAM

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – Kids from the Children’s Center for Communication and Development at the University of Southern Mississippi joined the brothers of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity Thursday to paint the lion statue in front of the fraternity house.

The Children’s Center provides early intervention services to children with complex disabilities. It sits across the street from the SAE house.

The partnership between the Children’s Center and SAE began last year after a mother of one of the children posted on social media, saying the SAE lion statue relieved her son’s anxiety when going to therapy.

One of the brothers saw the post and reached out to the Children’s Center to have the kids come by and paint it.

The painting of the statue is a training exercise for the kids to work on their motor skills by painting and their communication skills by talking to each other and the SAE brothers.

“Our therapists are always trying to find ways to work therapy into play so that they don’t know that it is therapy,” said Children’s Center communications coordinator Courtney Tesh. “This kind of event is perfect for that kind of thing.”

This is the second time the children have come by the house to paint the lion statue, and both SAE and the Children’s Center hope to continue this partnership.

“As a nonprofit, we rely on partnerships like the one we have with our neighbors at SAE,” Tesh said. “The more we can get community involvement in the children’s center, the more helpful it is to continue our services and allow us to offer them at no cost to the family.”

If you would like to get involved with the Children’s Center at USM, you can visit them at their website.