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Sensory Santa Party Dec. 14

Photo submitted to the Times Observer Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit with those who attend the The Second Special Needs Community Day Event on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Don Mills Achievement Center, 677 Hospital Drive in North Warren. The event is free and open to families from Warren County as well as neighboring counties.

Do you wish your family could attend holiday events where everyone understands it may be tough for your child to take in a new environment?

Events where they are not only accepting but supportive in modifying activities for your child to enjoy?

Have you wished all of your kids could participate in holiday activities, despite their abilities, together?

Have you wished for a sweet memory and picture with Santa without tears?

“Filling the Gap” is a group of local professionals in collaboration with Don Mills Achievement Center, whose goal is to provide children and their families with memorable experiences that take into account the individual needs of each unique person, despite their abilities.

The Second Special Needs Community Day Event will be on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Don Mills Achievement Center, 677 Hospital Drive in North Warren. The event is free and open to families from Warren County as well as neighboring counties.

During the Special Needs Sensory Santa — Holiday Party, guests are invited to enjoy snacks and cookies while visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the North Pole, according to Naka King, event coordinator. “Join the Elves in their craft workshop and stop by the holiday party with games and festive activities designed for children, siblings, and families of all abilities,” King said. “A quiet and calming respite room will be accessible for anyone who might need a break.”

“We will also be offering free photos of our guests and their time with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves,” she said,” she said.

“Filling the Gap” volunteers include; Emily Wachter, Anna Wright, Hannah Pacheco, Theresa Cook, Naka King, Barbara Swanson, Karly Taylor, Madison Hammond, Mary Walsh, Cayla Leichtenberger, Alice Fadale, Jackie Hammond, Jennifer Weyant, and many others.

Each volunteer supporting the event is a professional who has worked with children or in the special needs community, including teachers, occupational therapists, speech therapists, behavior specialists, and special instructors.

“Every activity is individualized to fit the needs of each guest and their families, as each child is familiar with at least one of our many professionals,” King said. “Each volunteer is committed to helping every child and family have the most comfortable and enjoyable experience possible while including children of all abilities.”

“Our vision is to fill in the gap of social inclusion and adaptation of services to fit the needs of the families in our community,” King said. “Our mission is driven by parent voice and supported by the volunteer professionals who serve them.”

A new partner, Hooktown Holidays, recently reached out to partner with the group and support the Special Needs Community Events. Hooktown Holidays, Inc. is a community service organization, that has been serving Warren area families in need since 2013.

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