Santa comes to town

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Dick Juliano was an unlikely Santa. The young, athletic Juliano was a coach at Cerritos College, not a portly old elf. Nevertheless, for the last 48 years Juliano has been Santa Claus for the children of Speech and Language Development Center (SLDC) spreading enough Christmas cheer to make the real St. Nick proud. After his first year meeting the students, he was hooked. Now retired and moved away, his yearly visit now means an eight hour trip from Northern California to Buena Park where he visits special education students with Autism and other disabilities.

Dick Juliano was an unlikely Santa. The young, athletic Juliano was a coach at Cerritos College, not a portly old elf. Nevertheless, for the last 48 years Juliano has been Santa Claus for the children of Speech and Language Development Center (SLDC) spreading enough Christmas cheer to make the real St. Nick proud. After his first year meeting the students, he was hooked. Now retired and moved away, his yearly visit now means an eight hour trip from Northern California to Buena Park where he visits special education students with Autism and other disabilities. Dick confided that his most memorable experience was meeting a four year old girl who was blind. “She sat on my lap and proceeded to touch my long white hair and beard. After a thorough inspection she exclaimed with great joy, Santa, it’s really you!” Santa returned to the SLDC campus on Friday, Dec. 18, to meet with children prior to their Christmas break. With a twinkle in his eye he said, “SLDC is a great place with amazing staff that does so much good for so many people. Isn’t that what the spirit of Christmas is all about?”

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