Operation Santa Claus

Legal eagles take children under their wing on Christmas play day

Games at charity event teach students how to spell festive words

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 December, 2016, 3:10pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 December, 2016, 10:25pm

Laughter filled the primary school in Tsz Wan Shan as its students enjoyed a Christmas play day with the city’s elite lawyers.

Earlier this month, more than 20 employees from Deacons, the city’s oldest and largest independent legal firm, took part in the event at Tsz Wan Shan St. Bonaventure Catholic Primary School, where 36 underprivileged children celebrated the incoming Christmas season.

The students played a series of games that taught them the spellings of many Christmas-related words. One of the highlights was an activity where participants competed to collect letters for Christmas words within a giant alphabet soup.

The children are clients of FHL Adventure Education Centre, which provides local underprivileged children and young people with adventure-based counselling. The approach revolves around using sequenced adventure activities to facilitate personal and social development.

The law firm is a six-time donor to Operation Santa Claus (OSC), the annual fundraiser jointly held by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, while the centre is a beneficiary of the fund this year. With the donation from OSC, the centre looks to help about 2,000 children and young people.

Deacons senior partner Lilian Chiang said the play day was a particularly rewarding one because all parties involved benefited.

“I am glad to be with the children and to bring joy to them amid the festive season,” she said.

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A dozen underprivileged young people, also clients of the centre, were invited to the event as facilitators. They led the children in groups to carry out the activities.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to be able to speak in front of a group. It gives them confidence,” Chiang said.

She added that she and her colleagues cherished the opportunity of getting to know the beneficiaries each year.

FHL Adventure Education Centre director Chan Lok Sum said that for young people who had never attended college and therefore struggled to find employment, becoming trainers in adventure-based learning could help them make a living.

“We provide them with 40 hours of classes in adventure-based activities ... so that they qualify for certain positions with some outdoor activities camps or NGOs,” she said.

Chan said the programme looked to boost the confidence levels of these youngsters by encouraging them to lead various activities during the Christmas play day.

“Many of the participants of our programme struggle in school and in communicating with others,” she said. “But through different adventure-based activities, they are becoming more confident.”

Swoosh English, a partner of the centre, also played a major role in organising this event as it was responsible for the English education component of the activities.