Laughter filled the air in the small room off the main part of St. Anthony’s School gymnasium on Friday as Sister Ann Venita and four volunteers made a Christmas party possible for 25 handicapped members of CAPS-Plus.
It started at about 11 a.m. with the handicapped adults forgetting that they might be a little different from those around them – not so, as they were considered and treated as the very important people at the party and everyone at the event acknowledged that fact by their actions and interactions.
A half dozen St. Anthony’s eighth grade girls took part in the series of events in demonstrating dance moves and then getting the CAPS members to dance with them in their own routines bringing laughter and light-hearted exchanges in the process. Music was provided by a boom box that kept all on their toes followed by levels of applause.
The music CD player was also used in a ball pass game launched in a circle of CAPS members who stood side by side and passed the ball quickly from one to another. When the music stopped, the one left holding the ball was taken out of the game which brought groans followed by laughter by the others remaining in the circle.
Sister Ann was visibly shocked when she was taken out of the circle as she was left holding the ball near the end of the event and had to be sidelined as many just chuckled.
Then every member of the group was given a raffle ticket entitling them to something on a table filled with prizes – at no cost. Everyone was to get a prize as their numbers were called and they walked up to the front of the room to choose anything from a knitted scarf to a can filled with cookies.
The final event of the day was a lunch prepared by a chef especially for the CAPS’ students sitting at the round tables in the side room off the gym. The CAPS Christmas party was one of many annual events organized by the St. Anthony’s Church nun who is also responsible for the Senior Citizens’ monthly luncheons that welcome seniors from every denomination to be fed and entertained in the same gym. But Sister Ann, who once served as the school principal of St. Bernard’s in Tracy, has a special spot in her heart for the CAPS’ members – and it definitely shows. She brings laughter and elevates their self-worth.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.