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Rockin’ for Robbie benefits play therapy

April 2, 2009

The Gamma Phi chapter of the Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority held their third annual Rockin’ for Robbie benefit concert on March 26 to raise funds for the development and support of play therapy.

The proceeds from the concert are sent to the Robbie Page Memorial Foundation, which aims to develop and support the use of play therapy in hospitals and other organizations with play therapy programs. Play therapy is the technique of using play, a child’s natural means of expression, as a therapeutic method of assisting him or her in coping with emotional stress or trauma.

The foundation was established in 1951 after the national president of the Sigma Sorority’s son, Robbie Page, died from polio. The Robbie Page Memorial Foundation was set up by his parents to fund research to find a cure for polio, which eventually led to the discovery of the Salk vaccine. Once the cure for polio was discovered, the Foundation’s philanthropy efforts were focused on the development and support of play therapy. 

The Sigmas hold the concert every year to fulfill their slogan of “Sigmas Serving Children.”

Play therapy is beneficial to children because it helps them heal faster and lets them get away from hospital life, UW-River Falls’ Sigma Advisor Sally Field said.

“It allows children to escape their situation and it speeds their healing,” Field said. 

The Rockin’ for Robbie concert featured the bands The Limns, who sang reggae music, and The Full-Tilt Band, a cover band who sang songs like Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” and Brian Adams’ “Summer of ’69.” The bands donated their time and musical talent to the fundraising event.

Both bands were arranged to play at the concert through personal connections to members of the sorority, sophomore Sigma Katie Bauer said.

“One of the guys in The Full-Tilt band is the father of Sigma Mandy Lombardo,” Bauer said. “Someone else in the sorority knows the members of The Limns.”

The first year the Rockin’ for Robbie concert was held, it raised about $2,000 for the Robbie Page Memorial. Last year it raised about $1,750, Field said.

The Sigmas not only focus on raising money for the Robbie Page Memorial—they also offer support by volunteering their time at the St. Paul Children’s Hospital in the Twin Cities. Some of the activities they do with the children are building sock puppets, having snacks and playing with games and toys.

Besides raising money through ticket sales, the Sigmas also provided popcorn to attendees for a free-will donation. Raffle tickets were sold for a chance to win various prizes donated by the community and local companies. The tickets were $1 for one or $5 for six. Some of the prize donors included Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Hudson Bowling, Luigi’s Pizza and Erbert and Gerbert’s Subs.

The community has been very cooperative in helping out the cause, Field said.

“They have been just wonderful at donating items to the girls for either the raffle or silent auction,” Field said. “They are just amazing.”