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Holyoke Mall Event for Children with Special Needs Slated for Dec. 4

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Mall is presenting Santa Cares on Sunday, Dec. 4, welcoming children with all spectrums of special needs to a photo environment supportive of their sensory, physical, and developmental needs. The sensory-friendly event will take place prior to public hours, from 9 to 11 a.m., in a comforting and physically accommodating setting designed to lessen behavioral triggers associated with this bustling time of year.

The nationally recognized Santa Cares event will take place at the Santa Photo Experience in Café Square, in partnership with Autism Speaks, AbilityPath.org, and the Noerr Programs, a leading digital event-imaging company providing the Santa Photo Experience at venues across the nation. This year, Hasbro Toys is providing Play-Doh for families to play with at activity tables before their visit with Santa.

“Many children with special needs have never had the opportunity to experience the joy and tradition of a magical visit with Santa. That’s why we are participating in Santa Cares, to create a compassionate, welcoming environment,” said Lisa Wray, marketing director at Holyoke Mall. “We will open prior to public hours and create a calmer atmosphere which includes muting the music. Families will enjoy fun activities while anticipating their private visit, instead of waiting in lines that make some children anxious.”

Added Judy Noerr, CEO of Noerr Programs, “Santa Cares fulfills our dream of providing a comforting and physically accommodating experience for families with children that have special needs. We appreciate the participation of Holyoke Mall in supporting this heartwarming program, allowing more families to share the magic and tradition of the holidays.”

This year, families that purchase a keepsake photo package during Santa Cares will also receive a bonus gift of four Christmas photo cards. Families are highly encouraged to RSVP in advance to reserve their time slot, at www.santacares.com.

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