Ringing his bell and calling out a jolly “ho ho ho,” some of the kids were a little shy of Old Saint Nick, but most of the around 90 students were excited to see him and receive the donated toys on Friday, December 13.
The Apple Preschool program offers children with disabilities between three to five years old a large variety of educational and therapeutic services, including speech, occupational and physical therapy and counseling. The children interact with special education teachers and clinicians who work on language skills, cognitive, motor and social development. After participating in the program, the majority of the children become integrated into the public school system.
Toys were donated to The Courier’s holiday gift drive by Courier readers and advertisers as well as from Assemblymember Edward Braunstein, who also received a donation for the drive on behalf of Boy Scout Troop 49 of Sacred Heart in Bayside, and Victor G. Mimoni, director of communications for Councilmember Dan Halloran, who additionally gave a generous toy donation.
“A lot of these kids come from low-income households. This extra little treat means a lot to them and their parents,” said teacher Missy Karvecky.
She prepared her class for Kriss Kringle’s visit by reading them a book about Santa called It’s Christmas David.
The day was extra special for Tommy, 3, who was also celebrating his birthday Friday, and had just joined the Apple Preschool program two weeks earlier.
“This is the happiest I’ve seen him,” said his teacher, Julie Fidelman.
“It was wonderful to see [all the kids’] faces light up after they saw Santa,” she said.
Another student, Jayden, 4, was also happy to see Santa and looking forward to going home and racing his new toy truck.
“I loved it,” he said. “I’m going to tell my mommy [about Santa’s visit].”
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