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Santa Paws' first pet visitor was named Thunder, an assistance dog. After that he was inspired to continue. He has been trying to get into pet grooming salons, boarding kennels, vet/animal hospitals, and other non profits every year. It is proving to be difficult!
Until more can be done, Santa Paws goes to visit Scott's furry friends. They really appreciate pictures at their home compared to bringing their pets to the mall or store!
Every year in November and December, the Elf CEO, Scott Powers magically summons Deaf Santa for deaf children. Scott believes that deaf children need a Santa that they can communicate and relate with. When Scott was a young boy, he was very frustrated that he could not communicate with Santa and tell him what he wanted for Christmas!
Unfortunately most Santas either are not fluent in sign language or use an elf to interpret to deaf children. Deaf Santa can communicate directly with the deaf children. Also unlike most Santas who only give out a candy cane, Deaf Santa gives each child a stocking filled with crayons and a coloring book.
Every year people from the deaf community have requested to volunteer to be elves or helpers and be part of this event so Deaf Santa does not have to do all of the work himself.
Deaf Santa was started back in 2010. Upon suggestion from a friend, Elf Scott was able to magically summon Deaf Santa to come for a special little girl at our party!
Elf Scott was serving on a committee that was part of his Deaf bowling league and was responsible for hosting a 75th anniversary party. Elf Scott summoned Deaf Santa to come as part of a fundraiser.
Elf Scott was also asked to summon Deaf Santa to the same private party as the year before. But this time with even more deaf children coming to see Deaf Santa! It was then the name "DEAF SANTA" struck, when a deaf child approached Deaf Santa and asked "Santa are you deaf or hearing?" Deaf Santa responded, "I'm deaf just like YOU" Deaf Santa simply LOVED the reaction she had when she learned that. That is such a reaction that children have when they know they found the REAL SANTA! Children aren't dumb, they know there are many many santas out there, yet there will only be ONE REAL SANTA. Deaf children need to constantly be around other deaf role models to inspire and motivate them. They need to realize that there is no such thing as being deaf is similar to being abnormal.
Word got around where Elf Scott worked at Kroger, and a supervisor there talked Elf Scott into summoning Deaf Santa there. This was in a split fundraiser for both United Way and Elf Scott’s bowling committee. There was mostly hearing children then since it was in an open area in the store. It was a challenge for Deaf Santa to communicate with the hearing children, but not impossible. Whenever Deaf Santa could not lip-read the children correctly, one of the elves helped out by talking with the children.
The hearing children are skeptical when they see a Santa that is deaf, since many of them believe that there is only one real Santa and at times show some confusion why this Santa is deaf and communicates with both his voice and hands. My elves explain to the children that there are many many santas in the world all helping to see every child. This santa is deaf so deaf children can get a chance to talk with him. Most smile and are very accepting! I have had one hearing girl give me a candy bar and say "way to go, Deaf Santa!" There is a young boy living next door to me that tells all his friends that he lives right next door to “Santa for the deaf.” Hearing children also need to be inspired. You never know that hearing child might grow up one day wanting to become a teacher or interpreter for the deaf! SMILE
Elf Scott and a friend attempted to reach out to different deaf clubs and school districts, letting everyone know how they could magically summon Deaf Santa for their Christmas event. They wanted to give deaf children to meet a Santa who was not only deaf, but they could relate to as well. Unfortunately, the only event they could secure was back with Scott’s bowling group.
Elf Scott proceeded and set up his own events. The owner of Shield’s Pizzeria liked the idea and allowed Elf Scott to use his banquet rooms in both the Southfield and Troy locations. It was a win-win situation where Shield’s enjoyed the increase in traffic and the deaf children enjoyed the experience of communicating with a Santa who was deaf himself. That year, no longer being part of his bowling league, Elf Scott choose Paws with a Cause to donate to. A friend was raising money for his new assistance dog after his former one passed away.
Deaf Santa was surprised when Kam Carman from Fox 2 decided to show up and do an interview. That was really exciting for Deaf Santa and he was so nervous that day!! A lot of people seen the footage on the news! WHOA
Elf Scott was also asked directly by the bowling lanes where I hosted santa parties the prior two years to come back for a third year!
Elf Scott was proud to get the approval from Canterbury Village to summon Deaf Santa there. It was great to be in a Christmas store. A dream come true!
Listening to different parents feedback, he decided to expand further north to the Flint area and further south to the Westland area. Elf Scott choose Chuck E. Cheese for his event thinking that it would be perfect location for the MSD students to come to! For Westland, Elf Scott choose Big Boy’s next to the MJR Theater where they have captioned movies for the deaf community. Elf Scott is trying to expand and spread out more in Southeast Michigan.
Some of these events were not in a private banquet room and Deaf Santa was going to be interacting with hearing children as well. While Deaf Santa is a santa so deaf children can communicate with, he can never never say NO to any child! If any hearing children want to come and talk with Deaf Santa or have their picture taken, they may always do so! Deaf Santa will always find a way by doing his best to lip-read or one of his elves will communicate with the child. Because of that frustration, Elf Scott sent out a request for interpreters to volunteer their time and help make the event more successful. If no interpreters were willing to volunteer, Deaf Santa and his elves will always find a way!
This would be the first year Scott has asked for volunteers to come to interpret. There has been an outpouring support from many interpreter students for the chance to practice! Deaf Santa wants to give interpreter students every chance they can at practicing and interacting with the Deaf community.
This year, the media was crazy over Deaf Santa. He appeared in Metro Parent magazine before the season even began, then NBC 25 News showed up at Chuck E. Cheese event in Flint to film, and then a reporter from Southfield Sun (C & G News) came by Shield’s in Southfield to do an interview.
This year, Elf Scott choose to donate to a couple who lost their house in a fire, then a few weeks later also lost their son’s house to a fire as well.
Elf Scott continued with Canterbury Village, Chuck E. Cheese (Flint), and Shield’s Pizzeria. Also added were Doc Sweets’ Candy Company, and Oberweis Ice Cream Store in Troy.
Interpreter students continued to want to come and help Deaf Santa out.
Detroit Association of the Deaf also hired Elf Scott to summon Deaf Santa to their Christmas Party. It was a thrill to see nearly 80 deaf children in just a two hour frame!
This year, Elf Scott decided to sponsor a different charity for each event. At Chuck E. Cheese, he helped the Michigan School for the Deaf Athletic Department. At Oberweis Ice Cream Store, he helped the Troy Church of Nazarene. Doc Sweets’ Candy Company, Canterbury Village, and Shield’s Pizzeria were combined to help a couple with their unexpected moving expenses.
Elf Scott continued with Canterbury Village, Chuck E. Cheese (Flint), and Doc Sweets' Candy Company. Also added were 4 Pump It Up locations, Denny's (Lakeside Mall), and Dave and Buster's (Livonia). We were excited to be asked by Elf Scott's cousin in Windsor, Ontario to come to his pizza restaurant, Cheese Wheelz.
Deaf Santa was excited that D-TV (D-Pan) decided to come out and interview him at Chuck E. Cheese!
Elf Scott created a sign up sheet online and had approximately 30 volunteers sign up to help out! This included both interpreter students, the deaf community and some hearing friends. Also two young deaf elves wanted to help out as well!
Detroit Association of the Deaf asked Elf Scott to summon Deaf Santa for their Christmas Party again. Again, nearly 80 children were seen in a just a two hour time frame!
This year Elf Scott donated money to Michigan School for the Deaf yearbook, Deaf CAN!, D-Pan, and the Hands in Motion ASL Club at Baker College. He also decided to give money to the two young elves who really made the events this year a success. They used that money to go on ministry/education trips.
2017 is turning out to be exciting as we continue with Canterbury Village, Dave & Buster's (Livonia), Doc Sweets' Candy Company, Denny's, and Chuck E. Cheese (Flint). Also added is Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Dearborn.