On Sunday, residents from all across the Sunshine Coast gathered for one of the most inclusive Christmas events in the state.
The STEPS Autism Treehouse 7th Annual Christmas Party presented by the Fleet Office occurred at the Kawana Sports Precinct and enabled young people and families living with disability and autism to experience the joy of Christmas without any limitations.
The event was a roaring success and saw just shy of 1000 people come together to support STEPS and celebrate Christmas.
The party was also supported by 75 volunteers and 30 sponsors, all of whom were happy to help out the great cause. STEPS Managing Director Carmel Crouch anticipated a large turnout, but the amount of people and support was outstanding.
“With the tough time that we have experienced throughout 2020, it was expected that people would really empathise with the supportive environment we were creating,” Ms. Crouch said.
“However, it was truly heart-warming to see not only the amount of people who wanted to support our cause, but also to see the support and connection that people were providing to one another at the event.”
“I was elated to see such joy on so many faces, especially for those who have had such a difficult year.”
The event was also a great success in raising funds for the STEPS Pathways College and all the outcomes that it supports.
Speaking with the Manager of STEPS Charity, Anne Nioa, it was also apparent the exceptional outcomes that events like these could achieve.
“We are so grateful to all who have gotten involved in any way this year,” Ms. Nioa said.
“It’s truly wonderful to know that not only are events like these creating delight for young people with disabilities and autism, but they are also helping to continue creating opportunities and bright futures for those same people.”
Both adults and children alike got to enjoy a range of inclusive and fun activities at the party, with sensory activities and interaction with animals being popular across the day.
With the hot weather, water activities including the dunking tank and run through sprinklers were also in demand events.
The party also featured the drawing of the STEPS Adventure Raffle, with the winner receiving a Camper Trailer package worth $28,819.
The prize went to the very deserving and overjoyed Naylor family who will undoubtedly have many exciting adventures in the near future.
“It was a wonderful day that will have even more wonderful outcomes. We are so excited to create more opportunities for all as we go into 2021,” Ms Crouch concluded.