La Joya Community High School’s student council, in collaboration with its Future Business Leaders of America club, is hosting its third annual Toy Drive. Those who wish to donate can bring new, unwrapped toys to the school’s front office through Dec. 13.
They are seeking items for children and young adults, ages up to 21. Ideas for donations include: gift cards, movie passes, board games, puzzles, books, bikes, scooters, skateboards, craft kits, art supplies, cosmetics, sporting goods, magic kits, electronics, headphones, costume jewelry, art supplies, drones, baby dolls, action figures, stuffed animals and baby toys.
The items will be donated to the Arizona Department of Child Safety, which includes children in foster care or other situations.
Clarissa Preciado, student body president and senior at La Joya, said the whole idea behind the toy drive is to make these children’s holiday a little better.
“Through helping with the toy drive, I’ve learned that any kind act can help and we are helping make a difference in many kids’ lives,” she said.
Giving back makes everyone appreciate more what they have, she explained, and it offers a chance for people to show their kindness to others. Especially during the holiday season, it puts things into the right spirit—of giving instead of receiving.
“The toy drive impacts me by helping me and students at La Joya see how lucky we are to be surrounded by caring people,” Clarissa said.
“Helping with the toy drive has made me view the holidays as more special since I get to spend time with my family. I enjoy it more becase of them and the joyful spirit and focus less on the gifts because the holidays are supposed to be with the ones you love.”
The first year the students hosted the toy drive, they gathered 200 toy donations. The second year, they gathered 300. Hopefully they can beat last year’s number.
La Joya English teacher Sandra Saco is the advisor for the school’s student council. She remembers when they delivered the toys last year to the DCS, who later gave the toys to the children.
“They were really happy. Every little bit helps,” she said. Giving to children who may be in less than ideal situations is important, she added. “The holidays can be a sad reminder of what you lack.”
Watching the La Joya students organize and promote the toy drive has been a rewarding experience for Saco, as they take it very seriously and genuinely want to help.
“It’s a lot of attention to detail,” she said. “It feels good to make a difference.”
Saco explained while students are typically drawn to student council because they want to be leaders in their school, Saco said, adding how they lead is very important.
“I want to show the kids how to lead by giving back. They can use that power for good.”