JAG Works Students Organize ‘Birthday’ Toy Drive
While most teens were enjoying their summer break playing video games and hanging out by the pool, the JAG Works West Valley youth volunteered their time and looked for opportunities to make a difference in their community. The young JAG members spent their days outside of the classroom giving their time, talents and voice to raise awareness, not only for themselves, but those organizations that provide assistance to the most vulnerable populations.
Their latest community initiative involves seeking toy donations for the children at The New Life Center, an emergency shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence. The toy drive came together after the JAG Works officers and their coordinator, Nicole Porter, visited the shelter in June.
“We started talking about the kids at the shelter and what they are going through and how we could possibly help,” Porter said. Realizing a child may not receive a birthday present on their birthday during this uncertain time in their lives moved the JAG group to start their toy drive efforts. “Staying at the shelter can be overwhelming for a child and something as small as receiving a gift on their birthday can make them whole family feel better.”
In partnership with Bank of the West, the JAG Works youth collected new toy donations and hosted a mock birthday party at the branch where they invited the community to donate a toy and enjoy a piece of cake. “We were excited to meet all of the people who donated toys for this cause,” said Yartizi Sicairos (Yaya), the 16-year-old JAG Works Marketing Officer. “It’s important for us to help our younger peers through this difficult time.”
JAG’s mission is to help young people stay in school and to acquire the academic, personal, leadership and vocational skills they will need to be successful upon graduation. Community service has always been a core component of the JAG program and we’re excited to share with you the good work our youth are doing across the state.