Pago Pago, American Samoa — In a heartwarming collaboration, the Roary Club of Pago Pago proudly participated and helped organize the much-anticipated PCSN Network (Parents of Children with Special Needs Network) Christmas Party. The event, held on Friday, November 24th, 2023, at the Dept of Youth & Women's Affairs Gymnasium in Tafuna, drew an impressive crowd of approximately 150 attendees.
This festive celebration, made possible through the generous support of numerous sponsors, aimed to create an inclusive and joyous environment for children with special needs and their families.
In attendance were the Parents of Children with Special Needs Network, Department of Youth & Women's Affairs, Interact Clubs of Fa'asao Marist High School, Leone High School, Samoana High School, Tafuna High School, Pacific Horizons School & Manumalo Academy, Rotary Club of Pago Pago, Rotaract Club of Pago Pago, Department of Public Health, South Seas Broadcasting (93KHJ), X-Treme Bounce and Neil’s ACE Home Center.
The program started with a heartfelt opening prayer led by Sandra Scanlan, Director of Parents of Children with Special Needs, followed by a warm welcome from Danielle King, Rotary Club of Pago Pago's Youth Committee Chair.
The program included a variety of engaging activities and games were introduced, including face painting by the Department of Health's Leo o Aiga Program, a lively Living Nativity play, and the joyous introduction of Santa Claus for gift-giving.
Danielle King gave her thoughts on the day, saying, "It's my first year being a part of such a heartwarming event. The joy and happiness I see on the faces of all the children help to heal my very heavy heart and teach me a valuable lesson about living in the moment. It is a moving experience. I am so grateful to everyone who helped make this celebration for our children a success!”
Sandy Scanlan from the PCSN Network reflected on the significance of the early Christmas party, saying, "The Christmas party has grown into a wonderful annual event where our families come together to prepare our hearts for the Christmas season. We have it early because December just gets so full (of activities) so fast. And we also want to ensure that our families remember the true meaning of Christmas as they enter into the busy month. We celebrate one another, and the joy and peace our Lord came to give us."
Presents, donated and wrapped by all involved, were distributed, and memorable moments were captured with Karl the KHJ Kangaroo, the mascot from 93KHJ, and Santa Claus, who delighted the children with their presence.
The event was marked by the spirit of unity, love, and compassion, embodying the essence of the holiday season. The Rotary Club of Pago Pago, in tandem with the PCSN Network and its partners, continue to exemplify the power of community and empathy in creating cherished memories for children with special needs.
The organizers would like to say a special Thank You to everyone who worked so hard to make the event a success. Dept. of Health did an amazing job with the activities and interactions. Neil's ACE Home Center made a generour donation of presents. X-Treme Bounce and 93KHJ made the bounce house and free concessions one of the most anticipated parts of the Christmas Party in the last two years. All of the Interact Clubs made the event come to life with their games and lively spirit. Finally, PCSN Network and the broader special needs community have been wonderful partners in serving the children.
For further information on future events and initiatives, interested parties are encouraged to connect with the Roary Club of Pago Pago or the PCSN Network.