Phila. police host holiday party for special kids

PHILADELPHIA - December 18, 2012

Action News was at the Widener School for the Disabled, for all of the festivities.

Officers in the 35th District have maintained a long relationship with the young people at Widener Memorial. Most of them are teenagers and young adults with debilitating physical ailments and the biggest hearts.

"The officers come, they eat pizzas with us, and we talk with them," said 18-year-old Will Pizarro. "It's really nice of them to do that."

Officer Roz Downing has led the charge in organizing the event hoping to spread as much joy as she can.

"A lot of the kids here are not just physically challenged, but they have terminal illnesses," she said. "Some of them pass away in middle school. We've lost some younger children."

Terrance Waites has been at Widener since kindergarten. He is now 21-years-old.

Terrance will be leaving Widener's Hero's program this year, having been offered a full academic curriculum and much more.

"We provide mentoring, after school programs and just about anything we can come up with to help our kids be more successful in life," said Sharon Glodek, Widener Principal.

It has made a big difference in the life of Canoesha Nelson who has cerebral palsy.

"I want to become a nurse and help other people," said Canoesha.

"I got into a lot of trouble; a lot," said 19-year-old Vernon Rihardson. "I had to calm that down. It has made me mature."

Today, they enjoyed Santa, delighted in opening their Christmas gifts.

Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.