A personal goal of mine for this year was to volunteer my time for a cause, non-profit organization or charity. With the end of 2012 quickly approaching I needed to get my butt in gear! Luckily when blogger-friend Valerie Stachurski of ImCharmingYou.com asked me to help with a holiday party hosted by The Down Syndrome Association of Toronto (DSAT), I saw my opportunity.
On Saturday, December 8, I was welcomed by the association and about 50 of the most sweetest children I’ve ever met. The DSAT Holiday Party was held at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School (yes, the same school that our beloved Mayor Rob Ford coaches football at). The day was filled with lots of activities for children and teenagers to do with their parents/guardians. There were different stations set up in the gym including a mini bike track, ball hockey, less aggressive versions of basketball and soccer, an area for toys and a crafts table (which I was responsible for along with two other lovely volunteers). The craft ideas were great – me being a 23-year-old woman, I couldn’t figure them out at first but finally understood them. One thing is certain, children love wrapping chocolate bars, especially if they get to keep them!
Next up was a fun musical concert by Dan the Music Man, in the school auditorium. He sang Christmas songs including Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, as well as some classic tunes like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Wheels On The Bus and many more. The kids and adults enjoyed every bit of it – and to top it off, at one point there were even bubbles in the air! Doesn’t that sound like the coolest party ever?! There were kids dancing in the audience and a few had the courage to get up on stage and show us a little bit of their break-dancing moves.
Followed by the concert was a big feast and another performance by Blue Veil (Sara Elizabeth Centre) for everyone to enjoy while they ate. There was also a raffle and 50/50 draw happening in the background for adults.
Once everyone was close to finishing their meal, the grand surprise came to the event – Santa Claus! All the children ran towards him at once. They were so excited, it was a wonderful moment. Each child had a chance to sit with Santa and was presented with a gift and I shot a photo of them with him. This was definitely the highlight of the DSAT Holiday Party.
Overall I had a great time connecting with everyone at the event – the children, teenagers, parents, and volunteers. DSAT is a wonderful non-profit organization to get involved with because it brings all of these people together who either have a similar disability or know someone with it (son, daughter, niece, nephew, etc.). They learn and grow from each other and it is a fun community to be a part of. I’m really glad I was able to give a few hours of my Saturday afternoon to help out and hope to do more of this in the new year.