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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Rotary Christmas Party for Kids with Disabilities Held

Santa (Bob McElroy) greets children.
The Rotary Club of Cincinnati celebrated its longest Christmas tradition with the annual holiday party for students with disabilities at Roselawn Condon School.

Rotarians turned the school cafeteria into a huge party room with balloons, garlands, a lighted tree and 60 Rotarians and volunteers making merry. 

Richard La Jeunesse of Oakley performed magic acts for the children, while Bob McElroy donned a beard and red suit to help distribute gifts to 113 children. 
 “The Condon School party is the start of Christmas, for the kids and for us,” said Al Koncius, of Indian Hill, president of the Rotary Club of Cincinnati. 

Richard La Jeunesse of Oakley entertains with his magic act.
The club helped start the region’s first classes for children with orthopedic disabilities at Cincinnati’s General Hospital in 1919. In 1925, those classes became a full school when the Cincinnati Public School system opened the Randall J. Condon School for Crippled Children - a cutting edge program for children with physical disabilities.

The Rotary Club has kept its connection to the school alive with annual Christmas parties. Condon School merged with Roselawn School in 1982, and the parties continue at Roselawn Condon School. 
This year the Rotary presented the school with $500 to purchase sensory equipment. The party included music, crafts, games, ice cream and cake, with 60 Rotarians and other volunteers doing everything from decorating the cafeteria to leading carols and games, delivering presents and installing batteries. 
“The kids talk about the Rotary party for months ahead.,” said Sharon Smith, senior support specialist for Roselawn Condon School. "A lot of these kids have never experienced something that is all about them. It’s so exciting."

“You think we’re the experts at keeping the kids entertained, but the Rotary is amazing. They never allow down time. They go from one activity to another and keep the kids involved. They know what they’re doing and they do it well.”

Mr. Redlegs with Emmett O’Loughlin of Hyde Park

Amanda Forsee with Maddie Hoeller of Oakley
The Rotary Club of Cincinnati was founded in 1910 as an organization of business professionals serving the community. The club, with 350 members, has a special focus on children with disabilities.
Besides the Christmas party, the Rotary Club of Cincinnati provides year-round support for Camp Allyn in Batavia, where Stepping Stones provides  recreation and respite programs for children and adults with disabilities. The Rotary’s Believe 2 Achieve summer auction event supports disabilities-related organizations. Additional projects support programs in Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House.

For information on The Rotary Club of Cincinnati see

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