Colton Stubblefield of Gore visits with Santa Thursday night during Sensitive Santa in Sallisaw. The event was sponsored by the Pervasive Parenting Center and hosted by Carl Albert State College in Sallisaw. Stubblefield was accompanied to the event by Barbara Leonard at Gore Schools.
The first ever Sensitive Santa for the Sequoyah County area was held Dec. 10 at Carl Albert State College (CASC) in Sallisaw.
The event was sponsored by the Pervasive Parenting Center and was considered a huge success by organizers.
“This was bigger than we ever expected,” said Kodey Toney, director of the Pervasive Parenting Center. “This was a great turnout. We had about 15 children come out, which is a good comfortable number for these kids with sensory issues.”
The event was hosted by CASC.
Toney said the children had an opportunity to visit with Santa Claus, which for many was an enormous feat. It was also a relief for the parents and guardians. This was a chance for people with sensory issues to get to meet Santa without standing in the long lines usually associated with the holiday season.
“For some families with children on the autism spectrum, or with other sensory problems, the holiday season can be overwhelming,” added Toney. “The long lines at stores to get a couple seconds with Santa, which may or may not work out, can be frustrating for a child with autism and the families.”
Employees at CASC Sallisaw including, Terri Cox, Kristin Peerson, Paul Marshall, Caylyn Bair, Kaitlin Allen, and Jaime Henson along with Jodie Campney at Jodie Lee’s Furniture helped with decorations for the event.
“This is my favorite event we hold each year,” Kodey stated. “When you see a child that wouldn’t normally even get close to Santa finally ease their way up to him, or you see one come in the door, their face lights up, and they bolt to him with excitement, it makes everything we do worthwhile.”
The Pervasive Parenting Center thanked Sandie Rutherford with Smart Start Kiamichi Country, Sharona Farmer and the Choctaw Nation, and Jennifer Humphreys and Jay Falkner along with the Carl Albert State College Scholars Program for donating and assembling the gift bags for the children. Also, thanks goes to Lance Hammon, Jonnie Rutherford, Shelley Johnson, Heather Loyd, Julie Ellis at the Stigler Head Start, Glenda Stokes at Spiro Library, and Barbara Leonard at Gore Schools for all their help. Refreshments were provided by Amanda and Eric Southerland at E’s Hideaway in Stigler.
For more information about the Pervasive Parenting Center and center services visit www.pervasiveparentingcenter.org, or contact Kodey Toney at email@example.com.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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