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Easter Comes Early For Hundreds Of Florida Kids At Gov. Scott's Home

Easter may be coming up, but Florida’s Governor and First Lady celebrated a little earlier this past weekend. They hosted foster care kids, children with disabilities, and military families at the Governor’s Mansion for an Easter egg hunt.

“5,4,3,2,1…Get all the eggs,” exclaimed Governor Rick Scott to the group of kids.

The Easter Egg Hunt at the Governor’s Mansion was more like an Easter Egg Scramble as kids collected thousands of eggs all over the lawn of the Governor home.

“Mommy, look how many I got," said one child as she held up her basket.

Wow," her Mom.

"Yeah, I had to call her off after awhile,” said her Dad, laughing.

It’s the third annual egg hunt that the Governor and his wife, Ann, have hosted. Normally, they’ve hosted children in foster care and children whose parents serve in the Florida National Guard.

But, this year, children with disabilities also got a chance to get involved in the Easter egg fun and everyone got a chance to meet and shake hands with Governor Scott.

“Hi Brandon! How are you doing today," asked Scott.

"Good," replied Brandon.

"Glad you’re here! Now, is this your brother? What's his name," asked the Governor.

"Javier," replied Brandon.

"Javier? That’s a great name,” Scott remarked.

“As you can see, he’s walking the grounds, interviewing the kids, and that’s what makes it a special time for everyone,” said David Wilkins, the Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary.

Wilkins says he’s grateful to the Governor to open his house and personally engage with all the children. He says while it’s also a fun time for the kids, this event also puts the spotlight on all these families.

“Well, in addition to honoring military families, children with disabilities, and foster families, we’re also always recruiting more people to try to help in our cause. We need more families to adopt our children, to take up the role of foster parenting, and to help those children with special needs," Wilkins added.

And, Heather Rosenberg agrees. She’s a mother of three, who’s both an adoptive and foster parent. She says the Easter Egg hunt is also a great opportunity to humanize these kids.

“…and, for them to be present and visible and thought of because when they’re not, people tend to forget about them. And, don’t realize, they’re children. There’s nothing different about any of our kids than there are for any other kids who are walking down the street. So, putting that face on our children and showing what our families look like, and all the things that we do and how normal we are, I think that’s important,” said Rosenberg.

But, she says the event was also a great way to have fun, as her eldest child, a three-year-old, did when he took part in the hunt.

“He was having a blast. A couple of our friends were here, so he go to meet up with his friends, and he’s terrified of the Easter Bunny, but I think he stole an egg from just about everybody’s basket,” joked Rosenberg.

And, for both Governor Rick Scott and his wife, Ann, they say the fun did not stop at the egg hunt.

“We’ve got lots of activities, pictures with the Easter Bunny, reading books to them about the Easter Bunny. Just having a great time,” said Ann.

“Well, we all remember growing up. I liked those little peeps, was that what they were called? I always liked those, and of course, how excited we were Sunday morning when the Easter Bunny came to our houses," added Governor Scott.

And, that Easter Sunday morning will soon be upon us, March 31st.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.