On the first Saturday in December, enjoy Christmas movies galore at Berinba Public School to raise money for a 6-year-old student’s Autism Assistance service dog from Smart Pups. Three sessions on the 3rd of December will run for different age groups, starting with a 2-4pm session for 4-8-year-olds showing ‘Klaus’, a 5-7pm session for 9-14-year-olds showing ‘A Boy Called Christmas,’ and lastly an 8-10pm session for 15-17-year-olds showing ‘Holiday Rush.’

Klaus will screen from 2-4pm for 4-8 year-olds at Berinba Public School on Dec 3

Children are invited to bring a sleeping bag, pillows, and dress up as their favourite Christmas character or in a special Christmas outfit. There will be prizes for best dressed. Parents are welcome to stay, but can drop off and pick up if they prefer. Drinks and snacks will be available to purchase from the Berinba canteen during the movie sessions. 

“The movies will be shown on a big blow-up cinema screen donated by Yass Valley Council, which the community may have seen used before at other movie nights around Yass & the villages, such as movies at local parks and the swimming pool.

‘A Boy called Christmas’ will show at 5-7 pm for 9-14 year-olds at Berinba Public School Dec 3

The RFS will be donating their time to dress up as Santa and hand out some lolly bags to the kids. Yass Dominos has donated lots of pizzas for kids to enjoy at the later two movie sessions. 

Organiser Amiey Doolan’s son is particularly excited that Santa is going to be there. 

“All of the money that we raise for the night will go to Smart Pups Australia, and that money is for my six year old son for an Autism Assistance dog. Money raised from the Berinba Canteen during the movie sessions will go to Berinba School,” said Amiey.

She explains children with autism, like her son, often find it hard to emotionally regulate. 

“These dogs have specialised training where they’re able to sense when the child’s behaviours are heightened or they’re overstimulated. The dogs are trained to intercept that and calm the child down before it’s too much for them and they’re overwhelmed,” she said. 

Amiey added that having a service dog is also about companionship, as children with autism can also find it hard to interact with their peers, particularly when other factors are present such as language delays. 

Holiday Rush will show at 8-10 pm for 15-17- year-olds on Saturday, December 3, at Berinba Public School.

“Kids, they’re just kids, and he tries to express his idea but they kind of go: ‘well, I don’t know what you’re saying,’” she said. 

“The dog is going to be a great companion for him.”

“Smart Pups is a not for profit organisation and they do all sorts of assistance dogs. Epilepsy, diabetes, pretty much every service dog you can think of, they train them all,” said Aimey.

To get Amiey’s son the service dog he needs, the family needs to raise $20,000 by September next year. So far, they have raised $1,800.  

Southerly Jones