Mother dresses as Santa for kids in Pleasantville Cottage School

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A mother suited up in red to brighten the holidays for Pleasantville kids facing difficulties.

Phyllis Neider dresses up as Santa every year for boys who attend Pleasantville Cottage School, a home for emotionally troubled kids.
 
“Unfortunately, the boys come from a lot of different family situations, and it's been difficult for them,” says Neider. “They've been sent to the cottage school to try and help them get support, counseling, get schooling and hopefully work with them to get back to their family.”

With the help of her annual Santa outfit and gifts, she says the children walk away with a positive message.

“That's the hope, they see how kind we are to each of them and hopefully they will then give that to their friends and be nice to each other,” she says. “Kindness is not necessarily giving people gifts, but as little as a compliment, that can do a lot.”

While the children know Neider’s a mom and not Santa, she says she is able to give a different type of gift.

“Moms always give love, and in order to come here and just give them support, and give them a day of happiness, you just feel as if it's so needed,” says Neider.

Neider says she’s carried the holiday tradition for the kids for over 17 years, and she has no plans on stopping anytime soon.

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