Annual Event Attracts Neighborhood Children
USC students recently found out how long it takes for a group of local children to find thousands of toy-filled plastic eggs hidden in Founder’s Park.
“The hunt lasts three minutes because they’re so thrilled,” said Janee Duncan, a junior majoring in business administration and third-year Topping Scholar. “My favorite thing is just seeing the kids run wild.”
Each year, hundreds of neighborhood children and parents gather for Eggster, an event hosted by the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund and sponsored by the Undergraduate Student Government.
The fund, which provides scholarships for a group of 109 undergraduates with high financial need, puts on two community service events per year: Safe Halloween in the fall and Eggster in the spring.
“Our students do a lot of volunteering, and they really understand the greater good of what they do,” said Christina Yokoyama, the fund’s director. “They often are from this community, and they serve as role models for the people who participate.”
The Topping Scholars publicized the event at local elementary schools, passing out 8,000 fliers to recruit more than 1,200 participants. At the March 27 event, the Topping Scholars, working with groups from the Volunteer Center, supervised carnival rides and games for the families. Arts and crafts booths had materials for making spring-themed puppets, hats and toys. A free lunch was served.
“I knew this would be just as good as Safe Halloween, and it is,” said Lisa Williams, a local resident who brought her two young sons to the event. “There are a lot of different activities, and it’s all free. You can’t beat that.”
However, Eggster is more than fun and games. Amid the moon bounces and free food, a Student Aid Fund table had various brochures with information about the program, and Topping Scholars answered questions from interested parents. At a nearby station, children had their pictures taken and put into decorated frames reading “Future Trojan.”
“Ultimately, we’re promoting higher education,” Yokoyama said. “Our target population is students from the area, and it’s hugely important to make the community feel welcome at USC.”