Santa Brings High-tech Holiday Cheer to Children Across Canada

Kids often ask Santa Claus for the latest gadgets and gizmos, but this year it was Santa himself who got in on the latest technology trends with a little help from Cisco. On December 7th and 8th Cisco’s Canadian Civic Council, a group of employee volunteers that direct charitable giving, ran its Connected Santa program which brought the man himself  to some very excited children across the country through WebEx HQ and Tandberg technology.

On December 7th, Santa beamed into the wards of IWK Health Centre in Halifax. Using WebEx, a web conferencing solution that lets you connect with anyone anywhere in real time, and a tablet, Santa visited children throughout the hospital, many of whom were in isolation wards and otherwise would not have had the opportunity to spend a little time with him.  The power of Santa really came to life with one little boy!  Hospital staff told us that Santa brought out the first smile they had seen since he arrived at the hospital.

December 8th, via Tandberg – a high definition video conferencing solution that creates life-like face-to-face meetings, Santa met with children at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, as well as Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver. It was an incredible experience to see the children so engaged and happy, especially when they are so ill. And judging by the looks on those smiling faces, Santa was a big hit! Santa was beamed from our downtown Toronto and Ottawa offices, which were transformed into temporary North Poles complete with a winter window and Christmas tree! Along with the visit, Santa brought presents for all the children and provided a holiday lunch for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House.

Santa’s visit was a perfect kick-off to the holiday season and taught the adults how resilient little kids are in the face of difficult challenges. It was also a great way to show the power of technology – and how it can transform our world – one Santa visit at a time!

About Willa Black

As Vice-President, Corporate Affairs for Cisco Canada, Willa Black is responsible for strategies designed to promote Cisco's external brand awareness and relevance across key constituencies. She also leads programming in support of Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, reinforcing the company’s role as an organization committed to social advancement across governments, nongovernmental organizations, and communities of all kinds. Since joining Cisco in 1999, she has developed and led groundbreaking, award-winning programming including the Globe and Mail Business Incubator and most recently, the One Million Acts of Green campaign in partnership with the CBC. Black holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Williams College in Massachusetts, USA.
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3 Responses to Santa Brings High-tech Holiday Cheer to Children Across Canada

  1. Not only is it a great use of technology, it is a wonderful experience. Last year I was Cisco’s “virtual elf” for the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal. Delighting these children was a deeply touching experience that I will never forget.

  2. Anita Clark says:

    What a great way to help the kids forget about their difficulties for even a short while. There are so many wonderful ways to enrich lives via technology…good to see Cisco stepping forward!

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