The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation’s hallways were ringing with sounds of laughter and children’s voices on Friday as the nonprofit institute played host to the at-risk youth from Positive Tomorrows for some trick-or-treating fun.
This is the ninth consecutive year that an adorable mix of superheroes, princesses, goblins and pro sports superstars has descended on OMRF for a day of treats, games and good times.
More than 50 children from Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma’s only elementary school specifically for homeless children, toured the decorated halls and offices at OMRF smiling from ear to ear in what has become an annual tradition at OMRF. Each child’s costume was hand made by students from Oklahoma City University.
In addition to handing out candy, OMRF employees also took the children on a tour of the facility and entertained them with a spooky Oklahoma-themed story in the library read by the foundation’s librarian dressed as Gandalf the Grey.
“We’ve done this with OMRF for years and it only gets more and more fun,” said Positive Tomorrows development officer Rachel Durham. “It’s really special for the students because they know there is a giant complex full of people who are excited to see them and care about them. Of course meeting them with big buckets of candy adds to the fun, too. It’s just a blast.”
Positive Tomorrows’ mission is to “educate homeless children and their families for life.” They set out to accomplish this goal by providing a free structured learning environment for children, as well as providing parents and guardians with the necessary support to create a better life on the road to self-sufficiency. This private education helps address the special needs of homeless students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
“An added benefit to our annual trip out to OMRF is that we expose our students to different kinds of jobs and positive things you can do with your life,” said Durham. “They see that they can be scientists and see this place in our city that they wouldn’t get to otherwise. It is hugely beneficial, and we are thankful to have a partner like OMRF.”
Homelessness is very real problem in Oklahoma, ranking as the seventh worst state in the country for homeless children. There are more than 3,200 in the Oklahoma City public school district alone.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to put a smile on these kids’ faces and provide something they get to look forward to each year,” said Carlisa Curry, OMRF’s senior human resources specialist. “A lot of children don’t get a chance to do something like this, so it is a very special day for everyone involved and a tradition we cherish.”