This October the Ross Medical Education Center Kokomo, Indiana campus stepped out of the box and got involved in a community party! The Solidarity Community Trick or Treat Event has grown into a community event annually attended by thousands. Children and family members of all ages come dressed up and community business members pass out candy and information on what their specific business has to offer. “This event started off many years ago small, with around 150 children. It was started in direct response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and parents’ concerns about safety for their children,” said Diana TenBrook, Vice President of Marketing for Solidarity and one of the event’s coordinators.
Solidarity has a branch of service specifically for children, and they were invited to attend the party where safety could be guaranteed. They followed that pattern for years, said TenBrook, growing a little each time, until various entities across the community asked if the Halloween party could go public. In the years since, TenBrook said the event has grown a little each year, both in terms of people attending and businesses participating.
This year the event had a record-breaking 51 vendors that dished out treats to the kids. The event featured a mascot dance-off contest where Mickey and Minnie Mouse were named the winners and the ever-popular costume contest that consisted of five age categories and a group category. The winners of the mascot dance off were none other than the Kokomo Ross Medical Assistants’ Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Mickey and Minnie were dressed in Ross Medical scrubs and competed with such mascots as Chuck E Cheese and the Kokomo Jack Rabbit Baseball mascot, Jacks. The Campus Director and Career Service Development Representative’s husband dressed up in the Mickey and Minnie outfits and showed off their dance moves.
Melissa Lewis, morning student in the Dental Assistant program, shared her excitement of volunteering at the event, “I had so much fun making the kids smile. I was able to see people I haven’t seen since I was younger. I was also able to bond with classmates from other programs that I usually don’t get to talk with on a daily basis. It was a rewarding and fun experience for me.”
Cory Ward, Career Services Student Support Representative and one of the newest members to the Kokomo Ross Medical team, shared her take on the event, “our students, faculty, and staff passed out candy, Ross tattoos, and information about our programs to over 4,000 guests. Our Lead Dental Assistant Instructor, Cindie Hudson, brought her registered therapy dog, Seger, dressed as a lion. Cindie and Seger were recognized in front of the guests in attendance. Ross also participated in the mascot dance off. Mickey Mouse (husband of Jeannie Altmaier) and Minnie Mouse (Shannon Spencer) were dressed in Ross scrubs and won first place, beating out Chuck E. Cheese and the Kokomo Jack Rabbit! We had a great time serving our community and promoting Ross’ great programs!”
Attending this event was great for the entire Ross Kokomo team. They were thrilled to have over 30 staff, students, and faculty members there. While there, the local radio station interviewed their team about why they decided to join the event this year and some of the programs they offer. “Most importantly we were able to visit with kids, hand out tattoos, candy, and get to know people we would have never met if we would not have stepped out of the box!” said Shannon Spencer, Campus Director. “We will be back next year to defend our winning mascot dance off!”