Once again, Lil’ Sibs Weekend brought students and their siblings together for a weekend of fun-filled activities. This year, however, brought about a few changes from the event in past years. The “Paradise” theme took a long time to plan. Jessica Kreuzer, president of the Residence Hall Association, said, “Between myself and my executive board of Brittnay Madore, Rachel Distler and Alexandra Freyvogel, as well as our advisers, Lord Edwin ‘Eddie’ J. Carreon and Jessica Chandler, plus our wonderful RHA members, everyone played an important part in organizing this past weekend.”
Fifty-five students participated; the majority of siblings, all 12 years old and under, arrived Friday night. Kreuzer explained that the weekend was a success, considering RHA worked to provide activities that both the siblings and the students would enjoy.
“I think Lil’ Sibs Weekend is important for students at John Carroll because it gives the students a chance to hang out with their siblings in a different atmosphere rather than just hanging out at home,” she said.
While most students invited their brothers and sisters for the weekend, many also invited other friends of family. Sophomore Liz Malloy invited her 11-year-old brother, Tommy, and 9-year-old sister, Vanessa, as her “little sibs.”
She said, “It was a huge hit with Tommy last year, so we invited Vanessa to come out and spend the weekend with us too.”
The students and their sibs were provided activities throughout the day Saturday to participate in, including watching Jungle Terry, the showing of the movie “Madagascar,” and a carnival of games.
“The big hits of Saturday were swimming, making build-a-bears and dinner in the cafeteria,” Malloy said.
She said one of the kids’ favorite parts, though, was meeting all of her friends and seeing what the college experience was all about. “All they really know of college is that Lizzy is off at school, and she tells crazy stories when she comes home. Having them here, they get to explore this home-away-from-home in every way,” she said.
In addition to the normal activities, seniors Asurupi Gurung, Lauren Gunderman, Esther D’Mello and Cedric Jackson, all members of the Arrupe Scholars Program, organized for 24 local children of refugee parents from Nepal and Bhutan to come to JCU, acting as student volunteers’ “little sibs” for Saturday’s events.
Junior Julia Blanchard volunteered as a student sib. “The boy who was my little brother for the day was 9 years old. He really loved getting his face painted and the balloon animals,” she said.
The students and kids got more than just balloons from the event. Blanchard said, “It was a lot of fun. I loved getting to hang out with the kids because I don’t get to hang out with them very often, and they really seemed to enjoy themselves. They didn’t lose energy the entire day; they didn’t even want to go home.”
Gurung, Gunderman, D’Mello and Jackson had been planning this event for the entire school year. “We were inspired by our previous experiences with the refugees in Cleveland,” D’Mello said. Once a month, John Carroll teams up with US Together, a refugee resettlement agency, and brings parents and children to the University for a day. Adults are given help with a variety of things, including resume building, computer usage and interviewing skills, while the children have learning activities.
“The Arrupe Scholars organization was given funds by the Department for Applied Ethics to bring the refugee children from US Together to campus for Lil’ Sibs Weekend festivities,” Jackson said. The project was a way of culminating their “Refugee” senior project.