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April 2011 Note

from Christine E. Kapral MA, LMHC | Counseling and Therapy Coordinator | The Salvation Army Spokane Regional Services

“I always wanted to fly”…spoken by a 10 year-old boy who went on the Fantasy Flight, who was formerly abused and abandoned by his biological parents.  He never had a chance to celebrate holidays and typically felt shy and awkward in any type of social gatherings.  The fantasy flight helped him to believe that there are indeed good people on Earth.

He continues to be my young client and he’s slated to be adopted by the end of this month.  He aspires to be a pilot, his grades have soared since taking the Fantasy Flight.  He now soars in Cub Scouts, Boy’s Scouts, art classes, school and TaeKwondo.  His foster parents (soon to be his adoptive parents) adore him, his pets adore him, he has friends and he now knows how to smile because he believes life can be full of love, opportunity and people he has learned to trust!  He is an amazing child with so much potential to blossom in life by giving back to others who will some day need him and thrive, in return, by receiving all of his wonderful gifts and talent!  

This child has had the opportunity to fly several more times since the 2010 Fantasy Flight…now he tells me “flying is a piece of cake!”…he loves to travel and see other parts of the world.  

I will be attending his adoption hearing, his art work graces the front of my office door…I get teary-eyed thinking of him because even his former foster parent did not believe in him and he had to be moved to his current foster site (as is the case with so many state-dependent children, they are moved and moved to various foster sites)…I have so loved working with him and watching him thrive!!

Christine E. Kapral MA, LMHC
Counseling and Therapy Coordinator

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

2010 Email

from a traveler to a friend

Subject: Something I saw

Hi Linda

Have  time to write as I am WAITiNG for my flight:

The plane has been delayed here in Seattle. Seems that it is Alaska Air or the weather?

Time to share an experience that I had while waiting at Spokane.

I was at the Spokane WA airport waiting for a replacement flight for the one that I was scheduled to take but was cancelled.

While I waited for the 2+ hours, the following event took place and I was very fortunate to have seen -Their “Spokane Fantasy Flight”. Alaska Air donates a jet to take 60 homeless and under privileged children aged 4 to 10 to the North Pole. There  are hundreds of volunteers all dressed as elves, and at every station (where the kids get something to prepare them for their trip such as a theme related shirt, snack, tons of photos etc)and VERY young (5 ish)children playing violins or guitars while others sang Xmas songs. The amount of activity and the energy was overwhelming!  The children were conducted onto a jet accompanied by their own private elf. The jet took off, took a large loop around the airport, and landed where the children disembarked into the “North Pole” (a specially Decorated hanger ) where they met Santa and his helpers as well as Rudolph and his companions. Each child was given a special present. They returned by the same means to the airport arriving to Xmas music and the cheers of hundreds of Elves

The faces of these children, upon their return, should be seen by all. Their expressions of pure wonderment and happiness brought teary eyes to Elves, terminal employees and passengers alike! 

These 60 homeless and underprivileged children went and did  what very very few children go and do – they flew to the North Pole and really met Santa Clause!

Take care,   Norman

PSS. It was snowing at the airport during the whole adventure 

Linda’s Reply

Subject: Re: Something I saw

What a wonderful experience and very special thing for these children, and I’m sure they will never forget it!  Hope all is well with you.  It is a cold night in GA reaching down to the middle teens.

Take care, Linda

Norman Letting us know what he saw

Subject: FW: Something I saw

Dear Santa,

Below you will find an email that I sent to most of my friends!

The experience that I had watching the smiles, looks of amazement and all of those BIG eyes on everyone of those beautiful children did bring tears to my eyes. The experience also brought my thanks and admiration to the fantastic travel agent (Spokane Fantasy Flight) and airline (Alaska/Horizon) and ALL the volunteers that took these children to their unforgettable adventure to the “North Pole”.

am REALLY going to try to be there next Xmas, and the next, and the next……..!

Thank you, Norman | San Francisco

PS I did take a little Poetic License in describing the “North Pole” hanger and the Reindeer as I was not invited to go! – Smiles!

AND FINALLY .. Our Response to Norman


To let you know, we all arrived safely to the North Pole, thanks to the Alaska Air Flight Crew and Flight elves! The children were thrilled and enjoyed their special time and visit with us.

This is the 13th year that Santa has sent his elves to Spokane and the Spokane International Airport to take these specially selected children on a fantasy journey. Our mission is to create an overwhelmingly POSITIVE holiday memory for these children so when they mature, they’ll have a joyous event to remember rather than the harshness of their lives today. We believe children should spend their time WONDERING … not WORRYING.

You were able to witness a very rare event … and we are delighted that you shared it with a friend.

Merry Christmas .. did we just make another positive memory?

Bernie Claus, President/CEO