Nearly 100 Properties Participate in a Program Dedicated to Helping Children with Special Needs Enjoy a Magical Visit with Santa
Simon Property Group’s (NYSE:SPG), Caring Santa event, has emerged this holiday season as a favorite program for customers with special needs children. Town Center at Cobb, Mall of Georgia, Lenox Square and Northlake Mall hosted the event and are owned and operated by Simon Property Group.
Featured on such national outlets as ‘Entertainment Tonight’ and www.parents.com, and well-known regional outlets such as The Orange County Register, nearly 100 Simon® properties are participating in this special event dedicated to families that have children with special needs, providing a subdued environment to visit the Santa Photo Experience. Simon’s Caring Santa is the most comprehensive offering of its type in the shopping center industry.
Many steps are taken to reduce sensory triggers - music turned off near the Santa set; nearby escalators shut down; lights dimmed – creating a more comforting experience for the children’s magical visit with Santa. Since the program’s inception, Simon has teamed up with AbilityPath, an online resource hub and social network for families of children with special needs, to coordinate event logistics.
Caring Santa appeared at Town Center at Cobb, Mall of Georgia, Lenox Square and Northlake Mall on December 2 prior to mall opening to accommodate the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of all guests.
Kelly Fischer visited Caring Santa with her son at a Simon mall and was enthusiastic about the visit. “Thank you so much for making this opportunity available to us!” she wrote. “Our son was able to have an enjoyable time with Santa, when typically he would have been so overwhelmed by the noise and crowd. For children with autism, this allows them to really enjoy a popular Christmas tradition! Thanks again!!” Fischer serves as a Vice President, Autism Society, Greater New Orleans chapter.
Simon’s Caring Santa program has grown in popularity in a few short years. Started in 2010 in just a handful of malls, today well over half of the Simon regional mall portfolio participates. Due to the tremendous success of the Caring Santa program this year, it will be expanded for Holiday 2013 to reach and touch even more children.
About Ability PathAbilityPath.org is an online hub and special needs community for parents and professionals to learn, connect and share. The website combines social networking features with expert content from AbilityPath.org’s team of educators, parents, therapists and medical professionals. AbilityPath.org was created by Community Gatepath, a nonprofit with over 90 years of experience serving families and children with special needs by fostering hope, dignity and independence.