A zebra on the Rock? Welcome to FunDay 2011.
“The only word I can use to describe it is fun,” said Toni Gormon, a FunDay executive board member.
The longest running service event at the University of Miami, FunDay pairs over 350 special needs citizens from the Greater Miami-Dade area with student volunteers for a day of fun, games and food.
“You make a friend for a day,” said senior Elyse Feinerman, another executive board member who is in charge of the arts and crafts. “You not only make their day by being their friend, but you also have the time of your life.”
FunDay takes place Saturday from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. at the Rock and the UC. No prior registration is necessary. Just show up at the Rock to get paired with a buddy.
This year’s theme is “Just Zoo It.” The activities will include themed arts and crafts, a petting zoo that includes zebras, and FunFair, a miniature fair with circus-style game booths sponsored by fraternities and sororities.
“We always have a mystery theater and this year it’s a petting zoo,” said junior Emily Packard, the vice chair of the executive board. “I have been spazzing out about the zebra.”
Packard, a Best Buddies member, has been hearing about FunDay from her buddy since September.
“It’s crazy to be excited about something that far in advance,” Packard said. “But seeing how happy it made her and all of the buddies, you can’t say no.”
Through FunDay, Packard hopes to influence student opinion.
“I hope students here learn how amazing these people are, that they are people,” she said. “They need to make a commitment to not use the r-word.”
For Alyssa Laferrera, the president of the executive board, this event hits close to home.
“I have family who have disabilities,” Laferrera said. “For the buddies, it’s their favorite day of the year. We want to make it bigger than it has ever been.”
Laferrera’s favorite part of FunDay is getting to see the joy on participants’ faces.
“They come back and give you a hug and a kiss,” she said.
Alysha Khan may be contacted at email@example.com.
Disabilities Awareness Week Events
Anti-Discrimination Panel – Tuesday in LC 140 from 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
Spread the Word to End the Word – Thursday on the Rock from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Monica and David (HBO Documentary) – Friday in LC190 from 7 p.m.-9 p.m.