losmorris (losmorris) wrote,

A Special Needs Christmas

Today was a very special day for about 350 special needs children in Lima and for over 100 adult volunteers. I have the privilege of sitting on the board of USEA - the United States Embassy Association; an organization that has a wonderful volunteer group that puts on a very delightful Christmas party for children attending a variety of special needs schools in Lima. The children attend schools for the blind, the deaf, burn victims, and for children facing a variety of other life challenges. We also invited the children currently residing in a facility that provides housing for child cancer victims and their families while undergoing cancer treatments - something much like a Ronald McDonald house in the U.S.

For one very special morning the children were invited to the Residence of the Ambassador and his family for a sugar filled breakfast of donuts (Dunkin Donuts is king here) and juice. This was followed by the opportunity to burn off that sugar on inflatable slides, a carousel, face painting, games, a play dough tent, and the opportunity to mingle with clowns, men on stilts,and a myriad of other cartoon characters come to life. Volunteers are recruited from the embassy and local Peruvian and ex-pat community to take 2-3 children each and chaparone them through the day's activities. I somehow ended up with 5 young girls from one of the schools and we had a blast. So let me share some of the pics from the day:

Set up and sign in time for our assignments:

Santa posed with each of the schools:

Two of my girls with their holiday face painting:

On to playing in the inflatables:

And the most fun of all - the "big slide":

A pause for a photo with their favorite volunteer:

A chance to eat pizza and watch the entertainment:

A farewell from Santa's helpers - the elfs:

And finally, the gift bags for each of the children:

Every single one of the kids received a farewel Christmas bag with toys & food:

And a final farewell from our hostess, the Ambassador's wife:

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