November 6, 2000

Fraternity Gives Children a Day to Remember

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The Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house was a chaotic tumult of screaming, laughing, playing children, Saturday. Boys and girls from the greater Ithaca community ran around the fraternity house, and the brothers struggled to keep up.

Twenty-five children, ages 4 to 12, came to the fraternity house Saturday to spend time with the house members. The Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC), ATO and the Sphinx Head, a Cornell honors society, hosted the second annual youth day.

Activities included a pizza party, a showing of the Disney film Tarzan and face painting. The group then traveled up to Schoellkopf Field to watch the Cornell Football team beat Dartmouth in the afternoon game.

Before the game, explained Chris Leonard ’01, co-president of the Sphinx head, and ATO fraternity brother, “We’re going to try to get the kids down on the field. For a lot of these kids its going to be their first football game ever,” said Chris Leonard ’01,

Numerous members of Sphinx Head, Cornell’s oldest honor’s society, are also brothers at the fraternity, facilitating the groups’ hosting of the joint events geared to help out the community.

“Most of the ATO guys are here as well as a handful of Sphinx Head guys,” said Mark Snyder ’01, co-president of the Sphinx Head with Leonard.

Imad Baggar ’01, head of philanthropy for ATO, and a volunteer at GIAC, helped to bring the fraternity, honors society and community center together.

“We … organize some other activities as well, events with lacrosse and basketball, maybe three or four a year,” said Baggar, as a little girl circled his legs, pulling at his shirt.

This is the second year for the event. “This is becoming a tradition with the fraternity,” Snyder said.

“Its been awesome. Its great for the kids,” said Annie Wojdyla, a staff member at GIAC. “Its so nice that the frat is opening up their home to these kids and having one-on-one time.”

Jodie Herbert, a resident of Ithaca for over 23 years, was a participant of GIAC as a child. Now he is a full time employee at the center.

“I remember doing this, and now my own kids are part of it,” Herbert said pointing out his seven year old daughter, Sh