How one mom made it easy to find a black Santa near you

Jihan Woods is a psychiatrist, so she understands the depth of a child’s development.

The mental health advocate believes black children have better self esteem and learning habits when exposed to figures — fictitious and otherwise — of their own race. So when she continuously struggled to find a black Santa Claus for her 4-year-old twin sons, the Dallas, Texas, mom created an app for that.

Find Black Santa shows you a directory of where you can meet the holly, jolly fella in your area. Simply select your state on the free locator app, and it will provide a list of nearby venues for 35 states and Washington, D.C.

The results are curated from various public sources, according to the app’s FAQs. If you have a black Santa event, you can email Woods at info@findblacksanta.com to have it added to the app.

As of Wednesday, one week before Christmas, Find Black Santa reached more than 13,500 downloads and is ranked among the Top 200 in the App Store.

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🚀Find Black Santa has taken off!🚀 Thanks to you, the app has a record-breaking 13,500+ downloads!🎉 . . And guess what else?! Today, we were ranked amongst the App Store’s 200 top entertainment apps!🙌🏾 . . This year has been huge for us and we appreciate every single repost, DM, email and anyone who spread the word to coworkers, family and friends. You’re the real MVP!🏆 . . Swipe to see more press about the app! . . Now, Santa will be here in SEVEN days, so I hope you’ve all been nice.🤔 . . We’re pretty sure you have, so enjoy 20% off all merchandise in our Etsy shop using code NICELIST. . . Offer valid until 12/31/19 at midnight. . . *NOTE*: Santa’s super busy, so all orders placed will be shipped after Christmas.😉 . . Link in bio.✨ . . . . . #findblacksanta #blacksanta #soulsanta #merrychristmas #holiday #christmas #christmas2019 #science #technology #engineering #medicine #stem #mobileapp #blackgirlscode #blacktech #startup #techstartup #blackentrepreneur #supportblackbusiness #blackbusiness #digital #socialmedia #ios #android #black #blackgirlmagic #blackboyjoy #blackgirlsrock #melanin #blacksantaproject

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Technology isn’t Woods’ first area of expertise, so it took months of research to get Find Black Santa off of the ground. Last year, she reached her KickStarter campaign’s fundraising goal of $5,000 in 30 days, according to an article on WBALTV.com.

“I’m a doctor by trade, so technology was definitely out of my comfort zone,” Woods wrote on Find Black Santa’s Instagram page. She juggles a career in medicine, a growing business and motherhood.

But developing this easy-to-use app was necessary to ensure black children had exposure to a black Santa. Representation matters in Woods’ household.

“Specifically for black children, it’s really important in racial and ethnic development that children see figures — whether it’s in the media, a mystical figure, like Santa, because it’s really helpful for their development,” Woods told television station WBAL.

Find Black Santa merchandise is also available on Woods’ Etsy shop.

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