October 28, 2002 — This Thursday, on Halloween night, more than 100 students from the University of Utah’s Greek sororities and fraternities will celebrate the holiday with 214 local children and their families. The University students will take their Halloween hijinks-a dinner, party activities and a spook alley-to Neighborhood House, a nonprofit agency that provides day care for children and adults based on their ability to pay. The children who frequent the center, located at 1050 W. 500 S., attend part- and full-time preschool and before- and after-school programs.
This is the twelfth Halloween members of the University’s 13 Greek houses have interacted with Neighborhood House children.
Rebecca McAdams, Greek Panhellenic Council president, notes that nearly 200 University students participated last year. “The purpose of this event is to get the Greeks involved with service outside the campus and to help the community. We’ve done it for so long. Everyone loved it last year,” McAdams says. “The kids get really excited when we come down–and the Greeks feel the same way also. We love Neighborhood House.”
Neighborhood House Executive Director Vicki Mori says, “Having the Greeks provide Halloween activities provides a safe Halloween for our families. The children and parents know that since Neighborhood House and the Greeks are putting it on, the candy will be safe. So they feel better about having their kids involved that night. It’s been a wonderful partnership.”
The Greeks will serve the costume-clad children and their families a dinner, provided by Neighborhood House. Supper will be followed by student-sponsored activities-face painting, story telling, coloring activities, pumpkin decorating and trick-or-treating, to be held in the Neighborhood House classrooms. (The Greeks will donate all of the candy.)
As a finale to the evening, the children will tour a nearby spook alley, created by the Greeks in the Neighborhood House Riverside Adult Day Center, a facility that serves 36 full-time clients daily. Younger children will get a kinder, gentler spook alley; older children will get a scarier version. “In the past they’ve had grapes for eyeballs, spaghetti for brains and someone jumping out as a ghost,” Mori says.
The best part of the evening, according to Mori, is the interaction between the children and the college students. “Because we serve a lot of single mothers, many of our Neighborhood House children don’t have an adult male figure in their own family. It’s nice to have the Greeks-and especially the young men-pick up the children, put them on their shoulders and play with them. It’s a buddy system. It’s nice for the children to have one on one time with someone-and not have to share the student with someone else,” Mori says.
For more information on the collaboration between Neighborhood House and the University’s Greek fraternities and sororities, call 801-363-4589 or 801-541-7072.