Sorority volunteers at boys’ home

Posted Feb. 23, 2007
Leah Heagy
University of La Verne senior Julie Hadfield plays Connect Four with some of her young hosts. Hadfield was just one of the members of the Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority who volunteered to spend the early evening hours of Valentine’s Day at the Leroy Haynes Center for Children and Family Services, interacting with foster kids from the area.

A small group of Phi Sigma Sigma members spent part of their Valentine’s day at the LeRoy Haynes Center for Children and Family Services playing games with the young boys, making their Valentine’s Day a little brighter.

When the Phi Sigma Sigma members arrived at the Center, they helped set up tables, chairs and games to prepare for the special night.

The boys walked in shortly after the sorority members had finished setting everything up and the fun began.

Some of the boys went to play video games, while others approached the Phi Sigma Sigma members.

Quickly, games of Connect Four, Battleship and Mouse Trap began.

There were also some snacks and drinks that were provided for the boys.

The LeRoy Haynes Center helps boys ranging in age from 7-19.

They live in one of six cottages located on the property.

The boys that come to the Center have either been abused or have emotional problems.

By having the Phi Sigma Sigma members volunteering for events like this, the boys are positively impacted according to those who work with them.

“I feel it’s good for them to interact with girls who are from college,” said Ophelia Araki, a residential counselor for the LeRoy Haynes Center.

“It’s probably a different experience for them because the girls they’re probably used to interacting with are probably not college girls.”

“It gives them a chance to practice healthier interpersonal relationships, which is harder to get inside the boys home sometimes,” said Josh Morrill a residential counselor for Swain Cottage.

“I think it’s good that they’re able to interact with people who make them feel valued,” said Roxana Garnica, a child care worker for Swain Cottage.

Garnica also said she benefits from having the Phi Sigma Sigma members volunteer their time.

“I have more one-on-one time to spend with an individual child as opposed to when we’re at the cottage and I have to deal with 12-boys,” Garnica said.

Some of the sorority members also said they have left the center with more than just a few hours of volunteer time but that the experience was a lot more.

“I like interacting with the kids,” said Stephanie Farrell, a junior criminology major and president of Phi Sigma Sigma. “They shock me by how intelligent they are at such a young age.”

“I admire them because they have grown up with many hardships and they strive each day to overcome that,” Farrell said.

The event was a way for the women to interact with the boys who have gone through hardships in their lives.

It was also a ways for the boys to have a little fun.

“I had a fabulous time,” said Katy Pierce a sophomore biology major and executive board member for Phi Sigma Sigma. “I always enjoy going to see the boys because they are so happy to have us there.”

“It’s nice to do something that’s not school-oriented,” Pierce added.

Events like this are often sponsored by sororities and fraternities to support their philanthropies and to encourage involvement in the community.

Each Greek organization at the University of La Verne has philanthropy events like this which they spend time planning and volunteering time to support their various causes throughout the year.

The event was successful, said Laura Washington, a program support counselor for the Center.

“They enjoyed it. I could see the boys laughing and talking, and playing games,”Washington said.

Sorority members were not required to go to the Valentine’s Day event.

Senior liberal studies major and former Phi Sigma Sigma Vice-President Julie Hadfield said Phi Sigma Sigma will return to the Center for volunteer work three more times during the spring semester.

“I already have it on the calendar,” Hadfield said.

Hilda Ann Venegas can be reached at hvenegas@ulv.edu.

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