Theme House Residents Celebrate Year of Helping Others

On a recent warm and sunny afternoon, the sounds of singing, cheering and clapping erupted from the backyard of a Nebraska Wesleyan theme house.

It was the place to be for a giddy bunch of Huntington Elementary School students who were there to celebrate their MVP Club and to say goodbye to their mentors.

“Everyone has truly enjoyed every minute here and we feel very successful in what we have done for these students in our MVP Club as well as for the Nebraska Wesleyan campus,” said Kelli Raile, chair of NWU’s Dream House theme house.

The Dream House was one of two theme houses created for the 2010-2011 academic year. The new housing option is among a variety of efforts the university is making to fuse students’ academic and residential lives.

Eleven juniors and seniors occupied the Dream House whose goal was to inspire elementary school students to follow their dreams. Eight other students moved into the Green House. The group worked together to promote green living among their peers and to the greater Lincoln community.

Last August Raile and her roommates started the MVP (Most Valuable Person) Club at nearby Huntington Elementary School. The Nebraska Wesleyan students made weekly visits after school to help with homework and lend their ears to issues on the students’ minds. The Dream House residents spoke about achieving dreams at school assemblies and accompanied the MVP Club to NWU athletic events and theatre performances.

See the video the Dream Team made for Huntington Elementary school students about following your dreams:

Meanwhile, the Green House spent the academic year promoting healthy living and healthy environments. They shared their message with elementary school students and church groups, developed a composting program, recycled, and helped with a fun run.

Next fall, the theme houses will be occupied by two news groups of students. Eleven sophomores will move into the Hope House whose goal is to spread positivity. Their motto is “big changes start with little steps.” The Fitness House will replace the Green House. The eight students who will live in the Fitness House will promote life-long healthy habits. Their proposed activities include a fun run that will benefit a Lincoln elementary school, an afterschool program, education on healthy cooking habits, and monthly dinners.

Raile said saying goodbye to the MVP Club was bittersweet. The afternoon barbecue and backyard games ended with long embraces and a few sad faces.

“I’m just really going to miss them,” said a Huntington Elementary fourth-grader.

“I think every Dream House resident had a great experience,” said Raile. “We accomplished our goals and hopefully we’ve inspired the students to reach for theirs.”


Very inspirational

What a cool experience you were a part of! Way to go! You must feel pretty proud and as a staff person at NWU I'm so proud of you guys!
Great job! ~Rachelle Hadley

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Dream House chair Kelli Raile visits with a Huntington Elementary School student about her summer plans.
Senior Janae Riha rests with students in between backyard games at the group's final get-together.
Students celebrated their mentorships with games and a cookout.
Huntington Elementary School students say goodbye to their mentors.