From pirates to princesses and wizards to werewolves, a giggling group of costumed children celebrated Halloween today with employees at OMRF.
The 70 trick-or-treaters were all students at Positive Tomorrows, an Oklahoma City nonprofit dedicated to educating homeless and at-risk youth in the metro. This year’s visit to OMRF marked the 10th year of the partnership between the two organizations to provide these children with a day of fun, games and, of course, treats.
“Our kids have a lot going on in their lives and are worrying about a lot of adult things,” said Positive Tomorrows development office Rachel Durham. “This experience is so carefree and enjoyable, they get to come out here and be kids. It’s a really special experience that helps us with our mission of building hope. They came in bouncing off the walls with excitement today because they knew what was happening.”
In keeping with the annual tradition, every one of the children’s costumes was handmade by theatre students from Oklahoma City University.
In addition to candy tour of the biomedical research facility, OMRF employees also treated the children to stories in the campus library, read by the foundation’s librarian dressed as a wizard.
“We always make sure we reserve our time here at OMRF, because the staff is so friendly, accommodating and excited to host the kids,” said Durham. “In addition to the fun, seeing these labs and offices shows them careers they could have with hard work. We’ve been coming for 10 years and we’ll be coming for 10 more.”
Positive Tomorrows is the only elementary school designed specifically for homeless children in the state. Homelessness is a very real problem in Oklahoma, which currently numbers nearly 44,000 homeless children.
The school not only educates the children but also aids their parents in getting the support they need to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
“This is an opportunity to put smiles on the faces of deserving kids who are dealing with daily challenges, and it is so exciting to see them light up when they come here,” said OMRF Senior Human Resources Specialist Carlisa Curry. “It’s hard to say who has more fun every year, the kids or our employees.”