Thanks to great community support, the annual Heart-to-Heart toy drive collected over 500 gifts, which a group of fifth graders enthusiastically presented to Ella Hill Hutch Community Center on behalf of all K-8 girls and boys.
After a quick ride from campus on the Fillmore bus, Stuart Hall fifth graders arrived at Ella Hill Hutch Community Center on December 13 to deliver and sort over 500 toys collected for local children.
Every year, the Convent & Stuart Hall Heart-to-Heart program holds a toy drive for families in the Western Addition neighborhood. Donation baskets were placed around campus, and K-8 boys and girls were asked to bring in new, unwrapped toys for a child of the same age.
"This will go a very long way in making the holiday season special for many children and families," says Devi Zinzuvadia CES'91, who is the Director of Engagement for Magic Zone, the community center's year-round after school program for under-resourced children.
Heart-to-Heart initiatives enhance the lives of Convent & Stuart Hall students and the lives of children from surrounding neighborhoods and nearby schools with activities and programs designed to promote friendship and a shared appreciation of community. In addition to the holiday drive and a back-to-school backpack drive, seventh and eighth graders along with high school students are invited to tutor children from the neighboring community on the Broadway campus weekly.
"The key to making a connection with the community is actually getting out into the community and developing a relationship with the people in the neighborhood," says Jaime Dominguez, Head of School at Stuart Hall for Boys. "That's why programs which provide opportunities to work directly with the boys and girls from around the city are so important to us."
After the fifth graders had finished sorting the piles of toys by category and target age group on long tables, they reflected on how working in service of their Western Addition neighbors exemplifies Sacred Heart Goals in action.
"It was so heartening to hear the boys speak to why it is important to support one another within community," Devi says. "As an alumna of Convent Elementary, I know how lifelong service begins for many during their time as students at Schools of the Sacred Heart."
Children who participate in Western Addition after school programs, including Magic Zone, will select their own gifts from among the donations without having to worry about cost.
Photo credit: Carlo Fiatarone