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PAUL VI AND JOHNSON & JOHNSON TO LIGHT UP CHRISTMAS

Repercussion Theatre

MONTREAL, DECEMBER 1, 2010 A choir of 10 Autistic and Down syndrome children from Paul VI High School in Ahuntsic is getting ready to take centre stage at Johnson & Johnson’s Research and Development Building (7101 Notre Dame E.) on December 15 (10 a.m.), leading a holiday program which will integrate the employees and students.

Created and organized by Antoinette Mercadante, an employee of Johnson & Johnson and mother of a student at Paul VI, the theme of the program is “Christmas Through The Ryes of a child.”  In planning the event, Mercadante wanted to give the special needs children an opportunity to break out of their shell by performing in front of more than 100 people, followed by an exciting holiday-themed day, where they will choose the activities.

“They’re going to be shy and the signing might not be perfect, but all I want them to be is themselves,” Mercandante said. “ I want to show the people that when you’re handicapped or mentally challenged, it’s not a sickness and there’s no pill to make it go away, but they’re just like everyone else. Some people think it’s a load and burden to raise these children. It takes love, care and understanding, I have a Down syndrome son and I am who I am today because of him.”

The program will begin with the students being greeted by 10 elves. These elves, who double as Johnson & Johnson employees, will serve as the guides for the children. After introductions, the choir will perform before taking part in a myriad of activities which will include a visit by Santa, a joint lunch as well as a gift exchange. Johnson & Johnson will be providing a gift to the members of the choir as well as all the students at Paul VI. In return, the students are creating bookmarks and candles for the employees.

“I want these children to integrate with the employees and to be who they are,” added Mercadante. “I’ll tell them to have fun, give it your best, and if they make a mistake, it’s okay. We’re not looking for perfection; we’re here to have fun. These kids are angels, I think it’s the least we can do for them.”

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Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213
E-mail: mcohen@emsb.qc.ca