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Group treats special kids to special day

CAT LOVERS  Cats lounge as customers dine at the Miao Cat Café in Quezon City where for a fee, you can eat in the company of felines. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

CAT LOVERS Cats lounge as customers dine at the Miao Cat Café in Quezon City where for a fee, you can eat in the company of felines. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

More than 1,500 grade school kids with special needs from selected cities in Metro Manila will be treated on Thursday to a program that aims to give them equality and a sense of normalcy.

Sponsored by Event Specialists and Party Needs in partnership with the local government of Marikina City, the event will gather children with special physical and mental needs from seven cities, namely, Marikina, Pasig, Manila, Makati, Caloocan and Quezon City and Antipolo City in Rizal province.

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The group, composed of nine suppliers and event organizers in the country, said that the outreach program dubbed “ESPEDcially for you” would allow the children to have fun and experience a party like every other normal child.

“We want the children to feel that they, too, are normal. We want them to have equal rights. We don’t want them to be deprived of fun,” Ryan Salvador, the prime mover of the event, said.

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He explained that kids with special needs were dear to him and to his friends, especially since he lost a son with Down syndrome 15 years ago. He added that his son lived for only 17 hours.

Some of the program’s beneficiaries are students of Barangka Elementary School, San Roque Elementary School and Concepcion Elementary School in Marikina; Commonwealth Elementary School and Batino Elementary School in Quezon City; San Lorenzo Ruiz Elementary School, Kalawaan Elementary School and Nagpayong Elementary School in Pasig City; and Payatas Elementary School, P. Burgos Elementary School, San Lorenzo Elementary School and Jose Fabella Elementary School in Manila.

Also participating in the six-hour program which will be held starting at noon in the Marikina Sports Center are students from Pio del Pilar Elementary School in Makati, Bagong Silang Elementary School in Caloocan and Bagong Nayon Elementary School in Antipolo, among others.

Salvador said that their barely year-old group decided to hold the charity program not to promote their industry but as a way for them to “give back [following] the success of our businesses in the past year.”

Apart from the expected 1,500 children with special needs, Salvador said that they were also prepared to welcome 200 more kids plus their parents to the event.

The children will be treated to magic and puppet shows featuring performers and clowns. The venue will be turned into a playground and the event capped by a fireworks display.

Asked how much their group has allotted for the program, Salvador said that “it was hard to quantify. What is important is that we will be able to make the children happy.”

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TAGS: Event Specialists and Party Needs, Metro, News, special children
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