Christmas Program Empowers Special Needs Children

February 09, 2019 | Church | Katie Fellows

It was a quiet October day when the phone rang and interrupted the normal day-to-day sounds of Desiree White’s day.

“Who could that be?” White wondered as she answered the phone and said hello.

Nitza Salazar, Washington Conference children’s ministries coordinator, had heard about White and her adopted family through friends and community. As Salazar explained her passion for children’s ministries and request, White was overjoyed at hearing of the first-ever children’s ministries Christmas program, Drummer Boy, featuring a main cast of children with special needs.

“Do you happen to have a drummer boy and an angel in your family?” asked Salazar.

White started to tear up as she said, “Do I ever!”

It was a memorable evening on Dec. 1, 2018, with nearly 500 people there to support these special children from their communities.

“As a teacher that works with children with special needs daily, I have no words to express the awesomeness of this program and ministry,” says Claudia Ortiz in a Facebook message.

White adds, “This production was such a precious tribute to the children and young adults that participated. Wheelchairs were transformed into camels. Down syndrome was celebrated. Autism and sensory processing disorders [were] honored. Sign language was prominent. Time was allowed to provide each pageant member with whatever they needed to 'play their drum for Him.’ It was a treasured evening.”

Many of the familiar Christmas songs included sign language and were all performed by children from the nearby community and beyond.

“There was almost standing room only, and for the first year I think that’s pretty amazing,” says Carrie Wilbur, mother to one of the wise men. “We had a lot of fun playing the wise man. This was a really cool program for a lot of reasons. I think all of the kids enjoyed themselves, and I think all of us helping on the sidelines really enjoyed this program. We would so love to do this again next year. This was just amazing.”