Until now... This Christmas I checked it out for myself! I attended the 2013 Variety Christmas Party with the primary and junior primary special classes from my school. I'm not sure who was more excited - the kids or me?
Imagine this: an enormous exhibition hall set up as a kids' party. There was an army of face painters (I didn't get a firm count but if I had to guess I'd say there were 30); a group of tattooists (obviously the airbrush kind, not the needle and dribbling blood kind); clowns; characters from the kids' favourite TV shows; photo booths; a fire truck; a magic cave; ten pin bowling; balloon artists; one of the enormous access swings for kids using wheelchairs; music and dance acts on stage; a rally car set up for the kids to investigate; kids' party food; and towards the end SANTA arrived! Amazing right? Well, it gets better.
|Some of the performers.|
|Santa's mode of transport for the day.|
On arrival we were greeted at the door and given our table number. There were OVER 250 tables!!! (Of ten guests each.) Each table had an 'attendant' who worked tirelessly all day to keep us comfortable. The attendants were all volunteers, many having taken the day off work to be there. (Many of them were corporate volunteers who were taking a work sponsored volunteer day.) Our attendants were fantastic: they interacted beautifully with the kids - one even learnt all of their names (!) - and were very diligent in keeping everyone 'watered & fed'.
On departure each child was presented with a gift! Not just a balloon or a lolly bag but a backpack full of other gifts. I was stunned.
Oh, did I mention that a we were provided transportation to and from the party? Yep. Even that was taken care of for us.
The team who run these parties are truly wonderful. I was incredibly impressed and grateful to the Ladies of Variety for organising such an inspiring event for young people in need. Thank you and well done! Please support Variety's fundraising efforts.
You've probably noticed that I've not mentioned the children yet. Well. There's a reason for that. Their reaction was somewhat overwhelming. Even for those kids who've been to many of these parties, there was still such excitement and genuine happiness. I simply don't have the words to describe it. (I can already imagine the stunned silence from some of you.) Everything was great but their responses will always stand out as the highlight of my day.
NOTE: These photos are from the official Variety Christmas Party website because all of mine have our students in them... Sorry!