For special needs children, a visit from Santa Claus just before Christmas can make their entire year, and we’d like to tell you about two organizations who provide specially trained Santas nationwide for kids with mental and physical disabilities. When they attend an event where Santa Claus treats them just like all the other kids there, it doesn’t just make them happy for a moment—it makes them feel like a normal kid.
Santa Cares, a subsidiary of The Kringle Group, LLC, arranges visits from a special Santa Claus to non-profit and charitable events across the country. The group works with volunteer Santa organizations across the nation, including such groups as International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, Palm Tree Santas, Mystic Order of Traditional Santas, North Star Santas, and Peachtree Santas. In addition to visits for special needs kids, the Santa Cares group also recruits Santa for wounded veterans, Toys 4 Tots events, U.S.O. events, and military units.
The group is entirely volunteer-based, from the folks who run the web site all the way to the Santas who generously give their time to make every kid’s visit to jolly, old St. Nick extraordinary. They respond specifically to volunteer and charitable requests, which should be made through recognized non-profit organizations such as Make a Wish. There is a nominal charge for Santa to help keep the organization operating.
Santa Cares prefers that requests be made for hospital groups or events where many children with special needs will be gathered together; this makes it easier to find a Santa who is available to make the appearance. However, if the situation is one of extreme care for a terminally ill child, hospice-trained Santas can be located as well, exceptions can be made, and the service does include a direct request form for these circumstances.
It’s best, they say, if the visit can be scheduled for a Monday through Thursday weekday during daytime hours, and they remind folks that, obviously, Santa’s schedule gets busier the closer it gets to Christmas. It’s good to know one of the more exciting aspects of Santa Cares is that visits can be scheduled during any month of the year—Santa is always available to help out kids in need, and he works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
Or you can circle this Sunday, December 8 on your calendar! Another organization called Caring Santa, owned by the Simon Property Group and implemented with help from AbilityPath.org, creates the opportunity for children with special needs and their families to have a pleasant photo session with Santa, with exceptional care taken to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children while they enjoy this meaningful holiday tradition. A Caring Santa will be in Simon malls across the U.S. this Sunday, and reservations are required. Click on the link to see where Santa will be in your area and to make a reservation. Then watch the video to see why and how special needs kids can have a ball at the mall this holiday season!