Springfield Rotary throws Christmas party for children with disabilities

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

The Springfield Rotary’s 99th annual Christmas party for children with disabilities continued this year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“The party was anything but traditional,” a press release from the Springfield Rotary said.

In previous years, the party was held at Wittenberg University’s HPER Center. Children from several Clark County schools would come and participate in activities like petting therapy dogs, dancing to music or visiting Santa. Each activity was tailored to any special needs a child may have.

On top of that, each child received a personalized gift from Santa.

This year, the party was held in 18 different classrooms. Students, teachers and paraprofessionals were the only people that attended the event on Dec. 14 because of school districts’ strict pandemic guidelines.

The children still opened presents from Santa and even received a special visit from him via video.

“Although it was sad not to see them all together this year enjoying Santa…, it was still wonderful knowing the children received gifts,” Springfield Rotarian and Service Division Manager at Hauke Bros Heating and Cooling Tracy Warren DeSantis said.

The Springfield Rotary delivered 132 gifts to Clark County students with disabilities, the release said. Twenty-five of those gifts were delivered to students’ homes that were virtually learning, quarantined, ill or on a hybrid-learning schedule.

“We have had a magical morning in Mrs. Kate’s class. I cannot thank…the Rotary Club enough…,” Kate Johnson, MD intervention specialist at Possum Elementary School said.

“Thank you so much for the holiday experience you brought to my classroom,” Deborah Stoll, intervention specialist at Fulton Elementary School said. “The students loved their gifts and the video was enjoyed by staff and students.”

The Springfield Rotary received support from the Mina H. Hadley Designated Grant at the Springfield Foundation and Wittenberg University in putting the Christmas party together, the release said.

“This is what the Christmas spirit is all about…making others happy,” Springfield Rotarian and City of Springfield Fire Chief Brian Miller said.

“The kids are already looking forward to the party when it can be in person in 2021,” Springfield Rotarian and Treasurer of Sweet Manufacturing Company Mark Grimes said.

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