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Great Northern Mall's Santa making impact on lives of kids with special needs

"It makes me happy that I can make these kids happy."

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio -- The holidays can be a bustling time of year at the mall. The shopping craze is in full swing, and taking a picture with Santa is a hot commodity. Specifically, at Great Northern Mall, where Mr. Claus is making an impact on some remarkable kids.

Santa told us that touching the lives of those children, brings him joy. "Knowing that I'm able to help children with special needs, our special needs program, we focus on keeping it fairly quiet, the lights are subdued ... something that keeps everyone calm."

Kris Kringle is beloved in the community. He's come to the Great Northern mall for years, being patient with kids who aren't so sure of him at first sight. You can visit him all season, but he really shines at a yearly event, designed for children who need a little extra care.

"We are very proud and fortunate to have a Santa who takes his time for our Soothing Santa event for kids with Autism and special needs. We give them a structured, environment that is sensory-free," Dana Wolfe, Great Northern Marketing Director Dana Wolfe said.

The consideration is something that parents like Jason Pasenow admire. His 10-year-old son, Landon, has battled cancer twice: First in 2010, when he was only 10 months old. Then, it struck again when he was 22 months old. Some of the treatments caused developmental issues in Landon, including taking away his ability to talk.

So, seeing his son perk up at the sight of Santa, is priceless to Pasenow.

"It's just so jolly. Landon likes loud figures. Santa's usually a loud figure. He likes the lights. So, it's a joy to bring him here."

And, how does he feel about Mr. Claus? "He's the best Santa," Pasenow said.

What's Saint Nick's secret? His helpers say it's all about his tenderness and reassurance. If you ask him?

"To be quite truthful, I don't know. It makes me happy that I can make these kids happy," Santa told us.

To learn more on how to visit the Great Northern Mall Santa, click HERE.

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