Trick or treating, Talk/Read/Succeed! style
Halloween paid a visit to Springfield Housing Authority’s Robinson Gardens apartments, with decorated cars and costumed staff members passing out goodies to wildly enthusiastic children, also in disguise.
The trick-or-treat event behind the Head Start area at Robinson Gardens drew dozens of children on the late brisk afternoon that was the last day of October.
Asked whether they approved of the event, children were unanimous: It’s a yes.
“This is fun, because we can wear costumes, and see our friends, and get candy,” declared 9-year-old Davian Oyola, colorfully caped as Robin of ‘Batman’ fame. “I love it.”
Jaiviaire Murchison, 7, agreed, noting that there is more fun to the holiday than dressing up and bagging candy.
“I like haunted houses,” he said. “They’re scary, and they’re fun.”
As it turned out, he was in the right place. SHA employees had lined up eight cars, front ends facing the wooded lot behind the family development, and opened trunks revealing a treasure trove of haunted, scary places. There was a hearse with a faux skeleton, a Spider Man theme, and a horror scene from ‘The Book of Life’.
Each back of a car had candy and treats to pass out.
On a brighter note, there was a car with a ‘Cat in the Hat’ bookmobile theme, which fit in nicely with the T/R/S! goal of early literacy. That spot featured T/R/S! Outreach Coordinator Lynne Cimino, dress as the Cat herself, and a trunkful of colorful Dr. Seuss classics.
“We decided to go all out for Halloween because it’s a fun, safe way to get the Robinson Gardens community together,” Cimino said. “Parents love this too, because they know they’re kids are in a good place with their friends around them, and a good environment.”
Her other half, T/R/S! Outreach Coordinator Zenaida Burgos, heartily agreed. Dressed as an undertaker with her car decked out as a hearse, hers was a popular spot.
“Everyone is having a blast, as you can see, and the children are all safe,” Burgos said.
T/R/S! is in its seventh year, a collaboration of local organizations and schools, including the two SHA family developments – Robinson Gardens and Sullivan – and their feeder elementary schools, Boland and Dorman. The program provides workshops, activities, supplies and support so that entire families join the literacy effort.
At Robinson Gardens, for example, a community garden was established this year to form strong neighborly ties, grow and harvest good food, and unite in a positive effort. Other T/R/S! initiatives include parenting programs, arts and crafts events with a focus on books, and a summer learning program.
The Halloween event was put together for some fun and again, to keep the sense of community strong.
Parents like Kelly Robblets were happy to join in.
“This is just great,” said the mother of two young children. “The kids are having so much fun, and I know from experience that anything T/R/S! puts on is going to be a good thing.”
Mom Jessenia Hernandez, with her 9-year-old son in tow, heartily agreed.
“This is so nice because everything is right here, and we know these people. This is it for our trick-or-treating,” she said.
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