Trojans Buddy Up on Spirits in Action Day
Members of the USC Trojan Marching Band, the USC Song Girls and Naval ROTC paraded into McCarthy Quad on April 24 for the opening ceremonies of Spirits in Action Day, an annual event in which Trojans host games for children with mental and physical disabilities.
As the opening ceremonies began, the performers found they had company — several of the children ran up to dance with the band while parents cheered and snapped pictures.
Founded in 1988, Spirits in Action is a student-run organization that fosters relationships throughout the year between Trojans and children with disabilities.
At this year’s Spirits in Action Day, 200 volunteers from the USC Helenes, Trojan Knights, Alpha Phi Omega and other student organizations paired up with 150 Spirits athletes to kick soccer balls, jump in moon bounces and play carnival games at more than a dozen student-run booths.
After each event, athletes received a check on their “passports,” and at the end of the day, they received medals for their completed activities.
“The goal is not only to celebrate students with disabilities, but also to empower them to realize their full potential,” said Rebecca Sekar, a junior majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in marketing who is co-director of Spirits in Action. “They have such a sense of accomplishment and are extremely proud of themselves.”
The day was just as rewarding for the student volunteers. Many formed close bonds with their buddies and enjoyed helping them partake in the festivities.
“For these kids, every day is a struggle,” said Sherene Tagharobi, a senior Helenes volunteer majoring in broadcast journalism. “Seeing them having fun and being successful is a great feeling.”
Bedecked with medals, the athletes sat down to a free lunch with their buddies and family members. Japanese drummers and a disc jockey provided music and entertainment as they shared food, stories and jokes. The athletes were especially excited to spend more time with their buddies.
“Everyone needs a day where at the end of it, they feel that the world is theirs,” Sekar said. “Through the enthusiasm and effort of our volunteers, that is what Spirits in Action Day is for these kids.”