Reptiles and Santa make a visit to the children of RIDBC

Elodie at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School Elodie gets up close and personal with a tortoise at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School

Westfield North Rocks has treated the students of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC)’s Alice Betteridge School to a morning of visits from ‘Crocodile Encounters’ and Santa Claus.

The ‘Crocodile Encounters’ reptile show gave students the opportunity to get up close with a tortoise, crocodile and snake. This was followed by a visit from Santa who arrived to wish each child a merry Christmas and to give each of them a toy.

The event formed part of Westfield’s Community Program, launched in 2008. This program sees each Westfield centre around Australia partner with a local disability organisation in order to help improve the lives of children and families living with a disability in their local area.

“The decision for Westfield North Rocks to partner with RIDBC was an easy one,” said Westfield centre Manager – North Rocks, Glenn Page. “RIDBC is just across the road from the centre, often receiving visits from RIDBC students, staff and families. We see firsthand the challenges that these children face and overcome, and so the relationship we have with RIDBC is a strong one.”

Glenn was invited to attend the reptile show and visit from Santa at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School.

“It was fantastic, the students at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School are amazing – they face so many challenges in their lives. It was really rewarding to see the excitement on their faces when the reptiles came out – and then when Santa arrived,” said Glenn.

“It’s such a small thing, but to be able to see how you can make a difference in the lives of these children – to give them an experience that brings them joy, particularly at Christmas, is truly satisfying.”

Students who attend RIDBC Alice Betteridge School have a significant hearing or vision impairment as well as a level of intellectual disability.

“This event was an extremely generous effort by Westfield North Rocks,” said RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn.

“Westfield North Rocks has provided an ongoing fundraising commitment throughout the year, with this event one of many organised by the centre in support of RIDBC. Efforts like these allow us to continue to provide quality, innovative services to children living with a sensory impairment.”

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children assists over 3000 children with significant hearing or vision impairment and their families across Australia.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in children's lives. In order to maintain its intensive educational and research programs, the organisation needs to raise approximately $2.5 million every month.

To find out more about how you can get your workplace involved in fundraising for RIDBC, visit or contact Johanna Yule on 9872 0249.