El Paso mall opens doors for special needs children to meet Santa

El Paso mall opens doors for special needs children to meet Santa
KTSM
Positively El Paso

POSTED: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 6:43pm

UPDATED: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 6:43pm

Meeting Santa is the highlight for some kids around Christmas. But for children with special needs, the large crowds and hectic environment can cause more stress then joy.

That's why one El Paso mall tried to make the visit with Santa easier this morning.

Cielo Vista Mall, here in El Paso, took a break from all the hustle and bustle that comes along with the holiday season, and opened their doors early for a good cause.

They let special needs children, and their families, meet with Santa Claus. Without the crowds or noise that come along.

Robert Yocom is the director of Epic Health Services El Paso, an organization that cares for special needs adults and children. He helped organize "Caring Santa" this morning.

"Being able to bring them in a little ahead of time, before the mall opens, they get to do what all the other kids do, without all the extra stimulation," said Yocom.

The mall turned down their music, organized a line, and let the kids enjoy.

Yocom's son, Travis, is a special needs child. He also got to meet Santa this morning.

"As a parent of a special needs kids, it's great to bring them out here and to see the joy on their faces and light up,” Yocom said. “And the families of different special needs kids get to meet each other. It's a nice experience."

Blanca Lucero brought her three sons. Kevin has cerebral palsy.

"Because large crowds actually make him nervous,” she explained. “And he tends to seize. It's another reason we don't go into large crowds."

But thanks to this special visit with Santa, these kids, and their parents get to experience this sometimes hectic holiday tradition with ease.

"It’s a blessing,” Yocom said. “It really is. I love to watch these kids. To see their faces light up when they see him, it is a memory that they are going to have for a long time."

Cielo Vista Mall is also planning another event this spring with the Easter Bunny.

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