Residential facility brings reindeer and more to its lighting display
Reindeer are pulling Santa’s sleigh again at Hillside.
The Santa Barbara residential facility for people with developmental disabilities has installed its Christmas lights at its campus, 1235 Veronica Springs Road.
There you’ll find reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh and strings of light that form a Christmas tree. And you’ll be greeted by a snowman.
Everyone is welcome to check out the lights at the sixth annual Shining Light on Abilities, which continues through Dec. 31. Admission is free.
Earlier this month, people gathered at the site to sing Christmas and Hanukkah songs. The vocalists included Assistance League of Santa Barbara carolers led by Ann Rudolph, and everyone was accompanied by accordionist Gail Campanella. Santa Claus came too.
Then, like magic (considering this is Southern California), snowflakes fell — just in time for Hillside President and CEO Michael Rassler, Santa Claus and Candace, a Hillside resident, to lead the countdown to the lighting of the decorations and lights.
To close the program, everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to the residents celebrating their December birthdays. Santa Claus reminded everyone: “Be good and no peeking!” (You’d better watch out.)
The decorations efforts were helped by Troop 37’s Scouts, who volunteered for the fifth time to come to Hillside during their Thanksgiving vacation.
“Helping at Hillside with Shining Light on Abilities around Thanksgiving has become a Troop 37 tradition,” said Will Rubison, a Scout who came all the way from San Francisco to help with the decorations.
“I wanted to be here to show the younger Scouts the importance of volunteering, plus Hillside always feeds us well,” Mr. Rubison said in a news release.
Mr. Rassler expressed his gratitude to the Hillside Facilities Team and those who helped to create the seasonal display. He said they included residents, their families and loved ones; neighbors, sponsors, donors, volunteers, the community and the trolley light tours that bring people to the Veronica Road campus.
Besides the lights and decorations, the display includes a slideshow that is projected on a large screen and features some of Hillside’s 59 residents. The special show, which you’ll find running continuously if you look through the picture window at the main Hillside building, was created by Office Manager Elizabeth Arendt.
“I was happy to be part of the slideshow and share that I like to help other residents,” said Mona, who has resided since 2015 at HIllside. Earlier this year, she graduated from Project SEARCH, a job coaching program for individuals with disabilities.
In addition to residents such as Mona, the slideshow mentions sponsors, including Demboski & Chapman Financial and Insurance Solutions; Easy Lift Transportation; Jordano’s; Klein DeNatale Goldner Attorneys At Law; MarBorg Industries; John D. Rubin Enterprises; and Unity Shoppe.