If you saw a gaggle of 3- and 4-year-old children in the Heilman Dining Center on Monday, it was not a very young group of prospective students on a tour.

Alpha Phi Omega, the University of Richmond's coed service fraternity, is currently hosting its "Friends Fun-raiser," said sophomore Sam Shalom, the event's coordinator. For the last 20 years that the event has been held, it has been known as "Teeter for Tots."

"We wanted the name to be more clear about what it supports," Shalom said.

The event benefits the Friends Association for Children, a nonprofit organization that aids about 3,500 low-income families in the Richmond area by offering day care, after school programs, music education and social support services, Shalom said. The event began on Monday, Oct. 21, and will end on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

The APO brothers have been tabling since last week, and will continue to do so until Wednesday, Oct. 23, to sell raffle tickets, Shalom said. Tickets can be purchased for $1 each, and six tickets can be bought for $5. Prizes include gift certificates to various local eateries, such as Pearl's Cupcake Shoppe. The grand prize is a free one-night stay at the Jefferson Hotel.

The event began with an opening ceremony where the fraternity brothers hosted 21 3- and 4-year-old children who are involved in the Friends organization, Shalom said. After they decorated pumpkins and drew pictures, the children were treated to lunch at the dining hall.

That evening, the fraternity held an educational presentation and discussion titled "Poverty and Education: Case Study Richmond" in Ukrop Auditorium in the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business. Richmond professors Thad Williamson and Tom Shields spoke at the panel. Both were members of Richmond mayor Dwight Jones' anti-poverty study committee about 2 1/2 years ago. The committee consisted of "a cross-section of individuals" in the Richmond community who were commissioned to establish initiatives of how to best deal with poverty in the city, Shields said. The various subgroups put together an anti-poverty report and presented it to the mayor and city council with the hopes of implementing the proposed changes.

Following Williamson's presentation of the gathered data, Shields, an education professor, said he was going to talk about how education is important in alleviating poverty in a child's life. A question-and-answer segment followed the discussions.

Tuesday night's planned event was an a cappella concert in the Alice Haynes Room from 7-9 p.m. All of the a cappella groups on campus are scheduled to perform, Shalom said. The concert has always been part of the annual fundraiser, but this year the concert has expanded and will feature Subject to Change (STC), the student improv group.

The "Friends Fun-raiser" will conclude Wednesday night with a new event, Shalom said. "UR's Got Talent" was created because "there are so many talented performers on this campus, and we wanted to showcase that," Shalom said.

Shalom said she and her committee had contacted various organizations back in September, and confirmed performing groups such as the D-Squad dance team. The talent show is free for students to attend and will be held in the Alice Haynes Room from 9-11 p.m. The raffle winners will be announced at the conclusion of the show.

Contact reporter Renee Ruggeri at renee.ruggeri@richmond.edu