A special Santa for the special needs community shares his holiday spirit with his peers

By Published On: December 11, 2022

December 11, 2022, Colorado Springs, CO – A special holiday tradition at Special Kids Special Families started during the pandemic year when adult program participants couldn’t attend services. SKSF staff wanted to reach out and show their clients how much they cared and were thinking about them during this difficult time. Staff dressed up in holiday garb and visited their client’s homes while singing carols and dropping off gifts.  In continuing this special tradition, adult day program participant, Bryan asked if he could be “Santa” as it’s always been his dream to ride along and drop off presents to his peers. When it was agreed that Bryan could participate, he was so happy and excited.  When asked why he wanted to be Santa, he said with a big smile, “I want to give back and show how much I care about them and their friendships.” Being inspired by Bryan’s response, SKSF Staff wanted to help Bryan be the best possible Santa and make his dream come true.

Being Santa for the special needs community takes a special person and Bryan was up to the challenge. “He’s patient, adaptable, a good listener, has a great sense of humor and he doesn’t have issues with personal space,” says Lead Program Coordinator, Madeline Dulle. When passing out gifts, Santa always gets lots of hugs by his peers and an earful of all of the good things they’ve done over the past year.

During Bryan’s first year as Santa, he exceeded all expectations. He truly shined when he was in character and showed everyone the compassion he had for others and that his care had no bounds. He laughed when they laughed and hugged them when they cried out with excitement in seeing him dressed in his Santa suit. “Having Bryan as Santa was absolutely magical!  He truly embodied the holiday spirit,” said Adult Services Program Director, Dionna Lanich.

After being Santa, Bryan continues to shine as a leader. He always seeks out ways to help his peers and shows them just how much they mean to him. He’s helped create and lead activities and is an advocate for his peers. Brian recently said that the best part about attending SKSF Day Program is being around people of all abilities and being able to be a leader. This year Bryan will again be participating in delivering gifts to his peers and the children that attend the SKSF Zach’s Place program.  Be sure to look for the Special Kids Special Families logo on vehicles as you just might see a very special Santa Claus. 

About Special Kids Special Families (SKSF): a non-profit umbrella organization with several unique programs designed to support people with disabilities of all ages from early childhood through adult as well as their families and caregivers. SKSF offers programs for individuals with disabilities including:

  • Child & Family Services which encompasses Zach’s Place child & respite care center;
  • Adult Services offering day programs and Host Home opportunities for adults with disabilities;
  • Child Placement Agency for foster and adoption placement for children with disabilities and special needs; and
  • Behavioral Health Services offering counseling and specialized therapy to individuals ages 4 to adulthood.

For more information about Special Kids Special Families services, visit our website at www.SKSFcolorado.org or call us at 719-447-8983. View photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.8727453837294955&type=3