Every year, millions of families around the world celebrate the holidays by gathering, giving gifts and enjoying their time together. But not all families are alike. For some, daily struggles and personal challenges can make it difficult to take time to enjoy simple pleasures.
The Special Children’s Christmas Party is an annual event that aims to bridge this gap with a simple goal: to put smiles on children’s faces for at least one day each year. The beneficiaries include children with life-threatening illnesses, special needs, intellectual or physical impairment, and victims of abuse. The organisers work closely with hundreds of charities, schools, community groups and government organisations to create some of the largest Christmas parties for these children, with events held throughout Australia and New Zealand during November and December.
For the third year in a row, Certis Australia is honoured to lend a hand in this rewarding endeavour by providing much-needed donations and volunteers for the Sydney edition of the event. Dozens of different organisations and over 300 volunteers provided their money and time, operating rides, interactive games, face painting stations and food stalls. Team Certis was stationed in the most exciting area of all, the Toy Room, where they gave Santa a helping hand in distributing gifts to children of all ages.
This year, the Sydney Christmas Party welcomed 3,000 kids and their caregivers, with over 10,000 toys given away to visitors. Toys were even delivered to young patients in the local children’s hospitals, ensuring no child went without a gift.
For Nadene Birkhead, Human Resources Business Partner at Certis Australia, volunteering at the event with Certis was “one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences. I was so happy that I attended, and I really look forward to doing this next year as it was such a beautiful experience.”
While this was Nadene’s first Special Children’s Christmas Party, many Certis representatives were repeat volunteers. Project Manager Linda Tomlinson was quick to sign up again to see “the smiling faces of those beautiful children,” noting that volunteering for these important community activities “gives a lot more back to me personally than the few hours of my time.” Like the rest of the team, Linda is already looking forward to next year’s event, and is keen to inspire others to join the volunteer squad.
Svetlana Kargin, National Manager for Marketing & Communications, coordinated Team Certis’ involvement and thanked all the volunteers for their spirit and enthusiasm in supporting such a good cause, saying “I hope you all left feeling the same sense of joy and purpose I did.”
Certis Australia is proud to support the incredible work of the Special Children’s Christmas Party. Every child should feel valued and appreciated, and events like these ensure no child goes without joy and excitement during the holiday period.
Thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors and donors who made this amazing day possible, including our Certis team – Kathy Shem, Mark Allen, Linda Tomlinson, Luciano Gallina, Nadene Birkhead, Aimee Che, Fenella Henderson-Zuel and Svetlana Kargin!