Galt’s STAR program got its annual visit from Santa Claus on Dec. 3, welcoming participants with a spaghetti dinner and Christmas gifts.
For more than two decades, Special Teen and Adult Recreation has hosted monthly events for developmentally disabled adults, offering a chance to socialize and take part in fun activities, like movie nights and pool parties. It restarted a few months ago after going on hiatus due to COVID-19.
“They (participants) have jobs; they go to school; they do all kinds of stuff. So this is one night a month that they know, ‘I get to see my friends. I get to hang out. I don’t have to go out of my way,’” said Chelsea Garibay, who recently took over the role of coordinating the program, after former organizer Tanni Watts retired.
“I love it so far. Everyone is so sweet, so helpful,” Garibay said.
Following tradition, Galt Sunrise Rotary Club sponsored the holiday party and dinner. Volunteers handed out plates of spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and salad to attendees, who gathered at tables to enjoy the food and lively conversation.
When Santa arrived at the Chabolla Community Center, attendees took turns sitting with him, and each got a packet of gifts: a scarf, a beanie, a notepad, a candy cane, a pencil and a Christmas ornament.
Attendee Phillip Gonzales said he enjoyed his opportunity to meet Santa.
“He gave us nice gifts. We appreciate them,” Gonzales said.
Garibay said STAR fills a need for those in the community with developmental disabilities.
“Most of the programs for special needs are for children and so it was really unique that we have one for adults,” Garibay said.
To register or for more information, contact Garibay by phone at (209) 366-7165 or by email at email@example.com.