Santa and his SaskTel Elves return to Regina for the 29th annual Santa Face-to-Face

Santa and his SaskTel Elves return to Regina for the 29th annual Santa Face-to-Face

For a child with special needs it’s not always easy to visit Santa at the mall. But, thanks to the return of The SaskTel Pioneers’ annual Santa Face-to-Face event, close to 25 children were able to enjoy a morning of Christmas fun that saw each one have the chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

In its 29th year, the Santa Face-to-Face sets itself apart from other similar events by placing the entire emphasis on making sure the children are its focus.

“For so many of these kids, the world seems to expect them to adjust to it,” said Kate Flamont, a SaskTel volunteer leader at the event. “What we’ve tried to do with Santa Face-to-Face is create a safe and friendly environment where we adjust to each child’s needs and they are free to have fun and simply be themselves.”

With close to 25 children on hand with various special needs, each child was assigned their own personal elf who would provide one-on-one attention and participate alongside them in a wide variety of activities including games, sing-alongs, colouring, and their visit with Santa.

“It’s always an exciting event for the kids,” said Hope McCheyne, the event’s organizer and volunteer from SaskTel International. “But it’s also a rewarding time for all of us as volunteers. SaskTel and the SaskTel Pioneers have been hosting this event for a long time and we always get a wonderful turn out from employees who want to volunteer as an elf or help behind the scenes.”

This year, the Santa Face-to-Face was once again held at the Ramada Plaza in Regina, the event’s home for close to 30 years. Although the hotel’s name and ownership have changed over the years, the one thing that hasn’t is the wonderful support they continue to show for the event each year.

It’s a similar story for the 30 SaskTel elves that started their day early to help prepare for the event. Many of them have been long-term Santa Face-to-Face volunteers, with some participating every year since the first event. Among the dedicated volunteers are a number SaskTel Pioneers who are still going strong even after they have long since retired from the company. For others like Bree Cavanagh, a volunteer from SaskTel, it was their first time joining the fun.

“Children are what make Christmas so great, so I wanted to be part of making this a special day for these awesome kids,” said Bree. “I didn’t have a lot of expectations going in, but seeing the kids light up when discovering all the presents in their back packs and during their meet and greet with Santa made it a super event! I had a lot of fun with my little match and all the kids were so sweet.”

The event was rewarding for everyone involved and many of the rookie elves like Bree are already looking forward to next Christmas. When asked if she would join in the fun next year, Bree answered “Most definitely. I’ll be on the hunt for elf gear until the next Santa Face-to-Face!”

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