Broadway Square Mall, a member of Simon Property Group, will hold a â€śCaring Santaâ€ť event from 9 to 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Caring Santa is a special event dedicated to families who have children with special needs, providing a subdued environment to visit the â€śSanta Photo Experience.â€ť
Started in 2010 in just a handful of malls, today more than 100 Simon regional malls participate. Last holiday season, the program was featured on such national outlets as â€śEntertainment Tonightâ€ť andwww.par ents.com.
Many steps are taken to reduce sensory triggers, creating a more comforting environment for the childrenâ€™s visit with Santa. Environments often include:
Turning off in-mall music, stopping escalators near the Santa set, dimming the lights, and shutting down fountains during the duration of the event; eliminating queue lines through the use of a numbering system whereby guests approach the set when their number is called; special activities and stories geared toward the needs of the child during the â€śwaitâ€ť period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit, according to the written release.
â€śThat moment when a child gets to meet Santa is a magical one, and every child should get to have this magical moment,â€ť Sheryl Young, CEO of AbilityPath, an online hub and special needs community, said. â€śUnfortunately, many children with special needs have never had this opportunity. The hustle and bustle of the malls can be overwhelming to the children and their families. That is why we facilitate the Caring Santa Program with Simon Property Group; to create an environment that will lessen potential triggers for children with special needs.â€ť
Candace Foster, director of marketing and business development at Broadway Square Mall, said the staff there is â€śthrilledâ€ť to host the event.
â€śThe Caring Santa program brings a lot of joy to children with special needs and to see that happen at our mall is truly an honor,â€ť she said.
Participants are encouraged to RSVP for the Caring Santa event at Broadway Square Mall by visitingwww.CaringSanta.com .