By CHITHRA SUBRAMONIAN, sophomore
Celebrating the joy of the holiday season, the BRIDGES club hosted its annual Christmas Party on Thursday, December 19. Guests arriving at the school followed footprints on the floor to the site of the festivities.
Started four years ago by senior Cynthia Lin, this party provides fun for autistic children. Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication as well as repetitive behavior. Cynthia, who has an autistic younger brother, has expanded the party into an event for the kids in Project PIECES and children with other developmental disabilities as well. “This party has grown a lot,” she said. “The attendees used to be mainly little children, but now, people of all ages come to celebrate Christmas.”
The party was filled with fun activities for the children. The club advisor, Mr. Smith, dressed up as Santa Claus and took pictures with the children. He even held a special reading of the poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which was met with a warm response from the audience. Attendees treated themselves to a variety of refreshments in the foods room. Children made sand sculptures, an activity known to be therapeutic for those with impaired sensory development. There were other activities as well, such as cookie decorating and a game called pin the nose on the snowman. Senior Sakshi Karambelkar, the BRIDGES co-president, said, “This year, Edison Municipal Council even helped us in expanding our party to reach out to others. Children from all over Middlesex County come here now, and I think the best part about the experience is meeting and spending time with them.”
When the party came to an end three hours later, the students who ran it were pleased with its success. Sophomore Divya Daripalli said, “We gave an enjoyable Christmas party for the guests, and I think more people should get involved!”
The event served as a learning experience for all who attended and allowed the BRIDGES members to spread some holiday cheer to many others.