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Saturday, June 15, 2024
The Observer

Students, kids play at Hannah and Friends carnival

Hannah and Friends’ Carnival brought student volunteers and handicapped children together to play sports, eat festival food and to go on hayrides Saturday.

Meagan Hartman, president-elect and community service chair for the Saint Mary’s College Alumnae Club of South Bend, created the carnival event.

“I wanted to give back to the South Bend community in ways that connected to current students and local alum,” Hartman said.

Hartman said that she had several ideas for fundraisers but had to narrow it down to a few. She wanted the Community Carnival to be one of the club’s big events of the year. 

Hannah and Friends is a national organization that works to improve the lives of children and adults with special needs. Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students visit the residential estate, owned by Hannah and Friends to volunteer with the special needs residents regularly.

The second annual Hannah and Friend’s carnival was held at its 30-acre farm in South Bend Saturday and many Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students attended.

Student coordinator Emily Hazen, a Saint Mary’s junior, wanted to get others involved in the carnival and to spread the word about the fun involved in participating in this carnival event.

“We’re just working to help spread [Hannah and Friends] message of awareness and compassion on SMC and ND’s campuses,” Hazen said. “It is a fun opportunity to get involved, get outside and to lose yourself in the atmosphere at Hannah and Friends’ Carnival, before exams drain us.”

“The best part is the atmosphere,” Kelsey Hutchinson, a junior at Notre Dame and ROTC volunteer, said.

Hutchinson said the Notre Dame’s ROTC program is committed to their community service involvement and this carnival was a great opportunity for them to reach out.

“I was excited to simply, come and help the needs of this special community,” Hutchinson said.

Hannah Olsen, a senior at Saint Mary’s College, first got involved with Hannah and Friends last summer while working at the camp. 

“I worked with Hannah and Friends, when I was a student at Saint Mary’s College” said Maureen Parsons, a 2013 graduate of Saint Mary’s. “I now coordinate day activities at Hannah and Friends in tandem with evens like these. … So, after graduation, I decided to come back to The Bend to work with the best program that I have ever been a part of.”

The Hannah and Friends’ Carnival also recognized Special Olympics of Saint Joseph County, Notre Dame’s club for the Special Olympics, the Logan foundation and the Mosaic Foundation.