Mrs. Claus Helps Make Things Merry and Bright
Mrs. Claus has a very important role at the Merry and Bright interactive experience at Abbotsford’s Sevenoaks Shopping Centre. She greets families as they come by. She helps them with various activities like decorating a Christmas tree or dressing up stuffed teddy bears. She takes time to read Christmas stories to the children and is always available for a photo or just a hug.
Mrs. Claus – also known as Dana Chandler in her other life – loves the opportunity to be a part of this Christmas experience.
“I love making a bit of Christmas magic for excited children,” she says.
This is not the first time that Dana has been part of Merry and Bright. Last year, she was an elf and when they contacted her about taking on the role of Mrs. Claus this year, she was pleased to hear that they thought she’d be a good fit.
They saw something in me that reminded them of the persona of Mrs. Claus. – Dana, aka Mrs. Claus
If Mrs. Claus is kind, caring, gentle, enthusiastic, and uber-positive, then Dana was nearly type-cast. She brings these same qualities to her role as a support staff with Communitas Supportive Care Society. Dana helps out at the organization’s Abbotsford Brain Injury Drop-In. It’s a role to which she brings a unique perspective: Dana lives with her own Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.
“After sustaining my brain injury, I couldn’t do all the things I’d done before but I still had a strong desire to serve,” she says. “I began as a volunteer with the Drop-In and that grew into a casual position that I love.”
Sheral Jones, who manages the Brain Injury Drop-In in Abbotsford, says that Dana’s qualities make her truly valued at Communitas. Sheral feels that it is these qualities that come alive in her role as Mrs. Claus.
“Dana is the definition of joy and it was no surprise that she was asked to play the role of Mrs. Claus,” Sheral says. “She is kindhearted and loving towards everyone she meets.”
Dana has found that she can relate to the challenges that others in the Brain Injury Drop-in experience and these common experiences make the group a close-knit one. She is grateful for the opportunity that she’s been given to work for Communitas, an organization for which she has great respect.
“Communtias is a very caring organization,” she says. “This is a place where individuals truly thrive and I speak from first-hand experience.”
Having the opportunity each week to meet, encourage, and care for this group of people brings Dana great joy. She is inspired by their strength and determination. When asked what her Christmas wish is for this group, she says she wishes that they would know their worth.
“I wish that they would all know that there is something inside each of them that is stronger than any barrier they may feel in the moment,” she says. “We are all much, much stronger than we think we are and we never know all the amazing things we can accomplish.”
Her wish for her friends is a reflection of what she’s experienced in her own life. That the role of Mrs. Claus would come to her is an accomplishment that she is enjoying thoroughly. You can visit Mrs. Claus at the Merry and Bright interactive experience at Sevenoaks Shopping Centre until December 24th.