Together, the kids raised $464 toward the purchase of Enchroma glasses, which cost $329. The special glasses helps people with colorblindness see in color.

“It seems like every color had its own personality.”

Chad Walden, longtime driver and supporter of Kids in Motion (KIM), received a vivid surprise from Kids in Motion participants Monday, July 31, at the M.W Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center. Each child donated money they had earned, demonstrating what KIM is all about building — self-esteem, work ethic, manners and community involvement. The kids' final random act of kindness for the summer began when a program supervisor mentioned to the children that Chad Walden, owner and operator of Walden Brothers Transportation, was colorblind.

From that moment on, the kids provided donations from their last two paychecks, with a limit of $10.

Together, the kids raised $464 toward the purchase of Enchroma glasses, which cost $329. Program Director Amy Vaughn said the remaining money will go toward gifts for other Walden Brothers Transportation staff members like bus driver Terry Ellison and Transportation Scheduler Michelle Willing.

Looking out over Mark Twain Lake, Walden continually pulled the glasses up and placed them back on, marveling at how each color “jumped out beside themselves.” He said everything he saw before he received the glasses was muddled and colors appeared “bland” — likening the change to standard-definition TV versus high-definition. Walden said he was eager to witness a whole new drive back to Hannibal, commending the members of a program he described with one word — “inspirational.” He said one of the first things he noticed was Vaughn's colorful blouse.

“He said my shirt was crazy,” Vaughn said with a laugh.

Vaughn said the children have been performing random acts of kindness throughout the summer. From the start of their “big finale” for the season. She emphasized that every dollar for Walden's life-altering glasses came from KIM kids' donations, and the children made the practical decision to select the sturdy version over a trendier style.

“They really have been so anxious for this day to come, and I'm really excited to be a part of it,” Vaughn said.

Many of the kids wanted to give much more for Walden's glasses, whom many participants have known for years through KIM. Kyle Gipson, 12, and Trinity Tutor, 13, both said they would have donated their entire checks to the cause if they could.

“I would be probably in tears, because not all people do that kind of stuff, and just to be able to give someone color for the first time — it's like you're them, you feel so happy,” Gipson said. “It's just a crazy feeling. Tutor said she felt the same level of excitement.

“It's really amazing. It makes me feel really good, because knowing somebody who can't see color, and then giving them the glasses made their whole world different,” Tutor said. “It just made their whole life different. It's so amazing.”

Kids in Motion is under the umbrella of Douglass Community Services and is a United Way recipient. For more information about Kids in Motion or Teens in Motion, please visit the program’s website at www.hannibalkidsinmotion.com or call Vaughn at 573-221-3892 ext. 246.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com