Photos from UCPGG’s 2012 Ultimate Holiday Party!
Please click on the image to see a slideshow.
We Need Your Help! – December 2012
Over the past ten years, UCPGG’s Ultimate Holiday Party has grown dramatically. For the first eight years, we were able to pay for the cost of the party and provide gifts for everyone with very little outside help. Last year that changed, and although we were able to accommodate 1,400 guests and 350 VIPs, we had to turn away over 150 VIPs. In addition to the toys (which cost an average of $100 each), the cost of the party has grown exponentially. That is why we would like to take this opportunity to ask Bay Area individuals and corporations to help us buy toys for all of the children and support this wonderful holiday program. You can donate online or mail a check to our address. All donations are tax deductible.
Our Ultimate Holiday Journey
The beginning …
In 2002, UCPGG held its first Ultimate Holiday Party at the Julia Morgan YWCA in Oakland, California. The party began as an effort to help families and friends of special needs children identify and acquire adaptive toys for the holidays, while raising community awareness of the lack of availability and the financial difficulties of finding age appropriate toys for children with mobility and other physical challenges. The first party received an early boost from a television segment aired on KGO/ABC Channel 7 in San Francisco, which highlighted the relatively high cost of adaptive toys.
The evolution …
Since the party’s inception, UCPGG has provided over $300,000 in adaptive toys and specialty catalog gift certificates to special needs children (VIPs) throughout Alameda, San Francisco, Marin, and Contra Costa counties. Each year the party has grown in size and scope, from the first party which had approximately 100 guests, including over 40 VIPs, to the 2010 party which welcomed over 1,000 guests, including over 300 VIPs throughout the Bay Area.
As we welcomed many of our VIPs back over the years, it became apparent that the party was as significant for them as the gift they received. We became aware, mostly through parent and caregiver feedback, that for many this was the only event all year that they could look forward to attending where they would be completely welcomed and fully accommodated.
Due to this realization and to its ever increasing popularity, the party was moved to the Marriott Convention Center in Oakland, California. In addition to the annual visit by Santa, we welcomed the Best Buy Geek Squad, who helped introduce electronic gaming to the VIPs and their families. We also welcomed assistive technology companies, who have allowed our VIPs to “test drive” their devices and help them and their families enhance their awareness and understanding of assistive technology. As an added enhancement to the holiday party, we welcomed the Warrior Girls and Raiderettes to serve as honorary elves, Miss Oakland pageant winners to serve as our MC’s, and we’ve also been delighted to welcome the creative magic of Barrango, Inc., who since 2008 have transformed the party space into a magical holiday wonderland.
The future …
UCPGG hopes to continue hosting the Ultimate Holiday Party for many years to come. Through the generosity of our donors and vendors, as well as the support of the community at large, we hope to be able to provide our VIPs with toys that are appropriate for them and to provide them and their families with lasting holiday memories. Click on the links below for pictures and videos from past Ultimate Holiday Parties.
View Slideshows and Videos from Past Holiday Parties