Santa Claus Comes To Town to Grant A Wish
The Grant A Wish Foundation was established in 2006 to grant wishes to children between the ages of three (3) and seventeen (17) years, who suffer from terminal and/or life threatening diseases. The foundation partners with medical institutions who recommend children. The foundation began by granting wishes at Christmas but has since been able to grant wishes on a monthly basis. Wishes granted have included such items as pink bicycles and purple lap tops. After the Santa Claus Parade this year one wish of a laptop was granted, courtesy of the students of the International School, to a five year old Cancer patient recommended by the Mount Hope Children’s Hospital. The Founder and President, Ms. Elizabeth Gordon believes that
childhood is a once in a lifetime opportunity that every child should experience with special memories …… memories not of hospitals, doctors and treatment, but memories of a more carefree time; a time the child will cherish forever
The foundation has two major fund raisers each year The Santa Claus Parade and Storytime Gardens. All proceeds from these events go to the Grant-A-Wish Foundation to ensure that more deserving children suffering from terminal illnesses are afforded the opportunity of having their wishes granted.
The Santa Claus Parade
The Santa Claus Parade was started 7 years ago by the Grant-A-Wish Foundation. This year the much anticipated Christmas family event took place on Sunday 29th November from 2p.m. around the Queen’s Park Savannah. The parade started off from opposite NAPA and ended at the Bandstand at the Botanical Gardens with a concert. Admission to this event is free. The public supports this event by purchasing Rudolph Red Noses along the route and Santa Treat Tickets.
I was pleasantly surprised by the parade. I went expecting very little and was taken aback by the number of participants and the quality of the costumes. A lot of the costumes come from theatre productions and were really beautiful. Over 90 percent of the participants were student volunteers from Montessori to University levels. There were cute little kids in a Santa train and beautiful ballet dancers. It was a great experience and well attended.
There were the usual popular children’s movie and cartoon characters led by Mr. and Mrs. Claus with their reindeers. Great Santa Claus, one of the best I have seen and he waved at me! Loved the Minion, Hulk and Big Bird. Loved Cinderella’s carriage which was one of the floats. It was a nice touch when at the start of the parade two little girls got lifted up to have their picture taken with Cinderella.
By now I suppose you have figured out I loved the parade. I am really sorry that I couldn’t stay till the end but I have promised myself to make sure and do that next year. The Parade is a show in itself. Two stops were made, one in front of the US Embassy and the other in front of QRC. At each of these stops there were performances which included excerpts from Broadway, scenes from Les Miserables, Mary Poppins and The Phantom of the Opera, complete with the Masquerade dancers of the Cascade Festival Ballet, the Phantom and Christine all coordinated by Nicholas Gordon of Caribbean Theatre Productions. There was also a cheerleading presentation. This is a Sunday family event with a Christmas theme. Great for kids.
At the Bandstand these performances were repeated together with a Puppet show from Caribbean Theatre Productions and Parang from Las Estrellas de San Jose which featured students from St. Joseph’s Convent, St. Joseph. Snacks pop corn and drinks were on sale.
Story Book Gardens
The second major fund-raising venture of The Grant A Wish Foundation is Storybook Gardens. It usually takes place in July over a two day period and features children’s water slides, carnival games, refreshments and many of the costumed characters that make up part of the Foundation’s Annual Christmas Parade. Tickets provide unlimited access to the wet and dry parks. This is something to look forward to next year. Follow our facebook page and twitter feeds and we will let you know the dates.
In 2015 it was held at The Chinese Association in Cascade, we visited and were suitably impressed. The wet section was well organised and supervised. Loved the changing rooms which were a nice touch. The kids were having a ball – wished I could have gone on those slides.
In the dry section there were lots of games. The Cinderella area was cute. Girls got to dress up as Cinderella, sit in her carriage and take pictures. What little girl wouldn’t like that? There was a zip line for the more adventurous and interesting looking bikes you could just jump on and ride around.
The hall in the back was full of all sort of bouncy castle type things and lots of sweaty kids. I think my favourite part was the tables and chairs thoughtfully setup for parents to sit and wait for their kids.
There are many more children who have wishes to be filled so the Foundation continues to appeal to any school, organisation or family who would like to make a wish come true for one of these special children. For further information or to make a donation please contact:
PRO, Grant-A-Wish Foundation
Telephone: 868 799 9078