(Photo by Tony Post) A student volunteer plays Halloween games with children at the YCC.
(Photo by Tony Post) A student volunteer plays Halloween games with children at the YCC.

Your Community Connection hosted a Halloween carnival for children on Wednesday. The carnival had games, prizes and candy for the children and their families, and gave these children a chance to spend quality time with their family members and YCC volunteers.

YCC is a crisis shelter for families and children located in Ogden. Weber State University students can get involved with this program and volunteer at YCC through a service partnership with the Center for Community Engaged Learning. Students can help plan events or just spend time with the children to give them positive role models.

“It’s really easy to get involved with YCC because of our partnership with Weber State,” said Livvy Gerrish, poverty program director at WSU. “We are always looking for volunteers, even if they just want to serve on a week-to-week basis or just serve once.”

WSU senior Missy Richards from the Center for Community Engaged Learning said students who get involved with YCC have the chance to affect the children in a way that can improve the children’s lives and help them strive to be the best they can be.

“I definitely think it helps the kids, for the fact that a lot of those kids have tough situations in their life; they come from low-income families,” Richards said. “They (YCC) have a shelter for victims of domestic violence, so some of those kids are in the shelter and they have firsthand seen domestic violence, so they just need some of those loving good examples in their life.”

Normally on Wednesday nights, YCC hosts an open gym for the children. The children show up ready to play games such as kickball, volleyball or soccer. For children who don’t necessarily want to play a sport, YCC offers craft projects.

“Get involved,” Richards said. “Every Monday and Wednesday, we are there from 6 to 7:30. It’s open gym; just tonight we are doing this instead of playing a sport. If you really want to touch a child’s life, this is the place to go, because there are children that really need that love and support in their life.”

YCC and WSU encourage students and community members to get involved and give of themselves to help make life better for these children.

“I think it’s such a great opportunity,” Gerrish said. “You go to school to get your degree, but it’s all textbooks. You don’t really see what you’re doing and how it affects the world. It’s a great opportunity to get involved in organizations like this while you are getting your degree because you can learn outside of the classroom and get to help people along the way.”

At the Halloween carnival, with excited smiles, children bowled with mini pumpkins, played a ring toss to win soda, tossed bean bags and ate candy and treats.

“Well, for many of these children, they don’t get a lot of fun places to go, so this is important to them, to be able to enjoy an event and come to a safe place,” said Julie Smith, the executive director at YCC. “They really look forward to being able to be with their friends and have a good time under adult supervision.”

The room was filled with volunteers and children dressed as witches, princesses, soldiers and in many other costumes. The children showed off their costumes while looking to see what other children and YCC volunteers were dressed up as for Halloween.

“I think this shows a good example in people who are able to show good service,” said Bailey Monson, sophomore and volunteer. “They are caring and willing to help do something good for kids who need more social accepts in their life and to get out and do something fun.”

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