Santa’s Little Hackers helps bring joy to children with disabilities


DENVER, CO (KCAU) – A Denver, Colorado, couple is making sure Christmas is full of joy for children with disabilities, by putting their hacking skills to good use.

Inside this Westminster storage unit, it almost looks like Santa’s Workshop.

“If we can be Santa, every kid will get a toy,” said Deana Watson.

Deana and Steve Watson practically are Santa Claus.

“This is only about half the toys we need,” said Deana Watson.

They collect thousands of toys and then adapt them for children with disabilities.

“I think it makes us feel like we’re meeting a need in the community that’s being unmet,” said Steve Watson.

During a one-day event called Santa’s Little Hackers, tech-minded volunteers rewire those toys to make them easier to operate.

The toys hook into a big red button, making it much easier for five-year-old Laura to play them.

“It was a game-changer because up until that point, Laura couldn’t play independently,” said Angela Howard, Laura’s mother.

Now she delights in toys that talk, move, or light up.

“It’s important for people to understand how rare these toys are, number one, and they’re not cheap,” said Reid Fisher, Laura’s father.

They also provide an important lesson in cause and effect, a lesson the Watsons’ saw in their own son when they started hacking toys six years ago.

“Our son now uses a computer to communicate with. He can have a conversation. He writes poetry. He writes songs. He writes essays for school. And it started by pressing a button and making a toy turn on,” said Steve Watson.

Now, these Santa’s helpers feel the responsibility of making a Christmas miracle for every child who needs one.

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