What better way to get involved with the community during the month of October than through Halloween? Last month, the UVM College of Medicine contributed over 70 hours to helping the O’Brien Community Center prepare for and carry out a night of fun, safe trick-or-treating for kids and teenagers in Winooski. The idea came through Laura Leonard ’17 and Mary Ledoux ‘17, who are doing a Schweitzer project with local teens. They use the O’Brien Community Center on Friday evenings as a home base for their work.
The October event was actually a two-for-one deal. We made decorations for the trick-or-treat stations, in addition to staffing them on Halloween. Cardboard, scissors and paint went a long way for us! We made everything from a castle to a haunted house to an Oompa-Loompa. I was pretty amazed at the artistic and crafting abilities of the med students who helped out. The actual trick-or-treating took place on October 30th. Though I am a self-proclaimed bad estimator of numbers, there were easily a couple of hundred kids, teenagers, and parents that passed through the event, trick-or-treating, playing Halloween themed games, and hanging out.
I learned a lot from planning the first event a few months ago (which involved helping the Green Mountain Club with trail maintenance), like don’t ask students to hike a mountain at 8 a.m. on a Saturday in gale force winds. Seriously though, navigating the Office of Medical Education and budget approvals, and figuring out how to take advantage of people’s willingness to help without overdoing it are skills I hope to continue to develop and help pass on to others. And, with the addition of Theo Cisu, the Class of 2018 Community Service Representative, planning monthly events is only going to get that much better.
All in all, October was a great month for the College of Medicine getting involved in the community. Once again, thank you to all that helped on October 17th and 30th, and to those that helped me get supplies, food, and treats! Stay tuned for information about the November event, and updates on the Community Service COMET web space.