One day a year at OMRF, the quiet hum of laboratory equipment is replaced with the joyful sounds of little wizards, princesses, space explorers and superheroes.
It’s a stark contrast to the foundation’s normal visitors, but it’s always a welcome change as 70 trick-or-treaters from Positive Tomorrows parade down the halls for an afternoon full of treats, games and Halloween fun.
Tuesday marked the 11th consecutive year the nonprofits have teamed up to bring smiles to the children’s faces—and those of OMRF employees, too.
Positive Tomorrows is a nonprofit school dedicated to the education of the metro area’s homeless and at-risk youth. Positive Tomorrows development officer Rachel Durham said the annual Halloween trip to OMRF is something the kids always anticipate.
“Unfortunately, a lot of our kids are used to hearing the word ‘no,’ and this is a place where they hear ‘yes,’” said Durham. “Yes, you can have a costume. Yes, you can have candy. Yes, you can trick-or-treat. It just lights up their faces, and it means the world not only to the kids but also to the staff. Holidays can be tough for these families, and that makes this annual stop extra special for the kiddos.”
In keeping with tradition, each child’s costume was handmade by theatre students from Oklahoma City University’s Ann Lacy School of Dance and Arts Management.
Positive Tomorrows is the only elementary school in Oklahoma designed specifically for educating homeless children. Homelessness is a significant problem in Oklahoma, with more than 44,000 homeless children. The school takes a three-step approach to addressing the problem by focusing on education, providing family support, and removing barriers such as transportation, hunger and basic needs.
“This is an annual opportunity that we cannot pass up, and we’re delighted to be able to present them with a positive experience they can look forward to,” said OMRF Human Resources specialist Carlisa Curry. “This trick-or-treating tradition means a lot to all of us here, and seeing those smiles is just priceless.”