Local woman brings holiday joy to kids overseas

NOW: Local woman brings holiday joy to kids overseas

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A South Bend business owner took her talents overseas for a good cause.

Jennifer Nyikos is a balloon artist in Michiana and the owner of Fun By The Yard. The balloon artist traveled over four thousand miles to Wales to build a Christmas village for children with special needs and for children who were hospitalized. 

Nyikos was one out of two artists chosen from the U.S. Over a thousand people applied and based on qualifications after the first round, only 100 people remained.

45 of those people were chosen out of a lottery and Nyikos was one of them.

The experience was a chance to bring extra joy for the children during the holidays and Nyikos jumped at the opportunity.

“We learned a bunch,” said Nyikos. “Well, what I liked was there were people from different skill levels there so I was able to teach and I was able to learn and together we built…oh, amazing a 20-foot Christmas tree, Santa’s grotto, we had tunnels, we had a fairy land…there was a story book that you physically walked into the book.”

The 45 artists built the Christmas village entirely out of balloons in three days. Nearly 80,000 balloons were used to create the project.

“Well you’re already drained and emotionally done and then the kids come in and their faces light up and it’s indescribable,” said Nyikos. “So like I said some of these children, this will be their last Christmas so to have them come in and walk through a tunnel and see fairies and come out the other side where Santa waits…they were just over the moon. That’s cool.”

Nyikos said it is an experience she will never forget and now she has friends from around the world.

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