Robinwood festival emphasizes fun for children

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Robinwood festival emphasizes fun for children

Maleiah Scott is usually finishing up homework or preparing for dinner after school.

On Friday, she was attempting flips and becoming a butterfly.

Maleiah, 8, was among 75 children at the fourth annual Halloween Fall Festival in Robinwood.
The event — featuring games, dancing, free food, face painting and a moon bounce — was hosted
by Annapolis-area chapters of six historic African-American fraternities and sororities.

The highlight of the event for Maleiah was the face-painting table. She sat patiently as Andre Dillard,
principal of Georgetown East Elementary School and member of Alpha Phi Alpha, sketched a butterfly on
her face.

Why did she choose the colorful insect?

"Because I'm as sweet as a butterfly," Maleiah said.

The festival was in the Robinwood gymnasium, which on school days is often used for the Housing Authority of
the City of Annapolis' homework club for elementary and middle school students.

On Friday afternoon, the gym turned into a mini-fairground, complete with a cotton candy machine, balloon animals
and Top-40 hits playing over loudspeakers.

Fraternities Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi hosted the festival along with sororities
Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Kappa Alpha and Sigma Gamma Rho.

Jeffrey Diggs, a member of Omega Psi Phi, said his wife grew up in the 1300 block of Robinwood, one of six public
housing communities in Annapolis managed by the Housing Authority. He wanted children to see positive examples of
adults volunteering.

"We get down to the neighborhoods where the kids are basically left behind," Diggs, 58, said. "We come out to show the
kids they are important to us."

Close to 300 children under 18 live in Robinwood, a neighborhood whose families, on average, earn less than $18,000 a year.

For Claudia Postell, president of Delta Sigma Theta, the message was personal. A lot of sorority and fraternity members grew
up in public housing or have family members living there, Postell said.

That's why she and others ran games, watched the moon bounce or prepared food.

"You're never too big or too good to give back," Postell said.

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