Employees from Harkins Builders have gone all out once again, hosting their fifth annual Halloween Party for the children of Villa Maria. Each year the children are delighted as Harkins employees take over the rumpus room at Villa and turn it into a haunted house. Dressed as ghosts, goblins witches, and zombies, the men and women from Harkins deliver a scary, but playful performance. The kids shriek with delight as the spooky music brings the characters to life.
“We do modify the performance for the younger children,” says Lisa Olsen Administrative Manager at Harkins and one of the dedicated employees who has helped organize this event. “Some of the children really want to be scared and others don’t, so we change what we do depending on the child” she adds. Building on previous years, the party has become more fabulous and exciting each year. Lisa was delighted and proud that several of the children took the haunted tour two and three times this year.
This wonderful celebration is just one of the many ways Harkins Builders supports the work of Catholic Charities. As a long time corporate partner, their relationship with Villa Maria began during Harkins’ first Dragon Boat Race in 1998. The Harkins team and Villa Maria were paired for the event; however, the dedication of the Harkins employees surpassed all expectations. The children and employees of Villa are all grateful for their continued kindness. Lisa explained, “when the Dragon Boat event was over we decided we wanted to do more, once we learned about the children and got to know the work that is accomplished each day at Villa, we wanted to get involved.”
Today Harkins not only celebrates Halloween with the children they also throw a Valentine’s Day pizza party, a Summer cookout, and carnival, share Thanksgiving lunch with some of the children, and each year before Dragon Boats they perform their team cheer for the students at the Villa Maria school.
“We all gain so much from our time with these kids,” says Lisa who explained that this is truly a win-win relationship for both Villa and Harkins. “We get so much joy from seeing the smiles on their faces and each of us looks forward to these events” she adds. Lisa says she never has a hard time finding volunteers, “once people understand what Villa Maria does and how great these kids are, no one hesitates to jump in” she says. With so many of the employees at Harkins making these parties an annual ritual, they have gotten to know some of the children very well and have developed some very rewarding relationships.
The children look forward to Harkins’ involvement throughout the year and Halloween is no exception. For these children, the Harkins haunted tour offers just the right amount of Halloween scare, fun and a little magic. However, it is the impact of the kindness shown that will forever stay with these appreciative and deserving children.