Every December, the Students In Action Club embraces the giving spirit of the holiday season by organizing the annual toy drive.
The annual drive is in collaboration with the organization Moms Against Poverty that was founded in 2008, with the mission to “nurture and educate underprivileged children to their fullest potential so that, one day, they can contribute and lead within their own communities; thus breaking the cycle of poverty.”
For the past eight years, the club has worked to encourage the school community to help those in need and collect toys for underprivileged children residing in Oakland, East Palo Alto and San Francisco. The toys go to the annual gift wrapping event Mothers Against Poverty holds yearly, where the community comes together to wrap gifts for children in need.
“I feel that this promotes not only a sense of community and giving back; it also teaches the young people in society how fortunate they are and how giving back, even if its one simple toy, can put a smile on a child’s face,” said SIA co-president Jasmine Samsami, whose mother runs Mothers Against Poverty.
Throughout the year, the club meets at least once a week, organizing various events that serve the community, and they have been planning and promoting the toy drive for over a month. They have created flyers and put announcements on BTV and the parent group newsletter in order to increase the amount of donations going into the two large bins they have placed in front of the theatre.
While the holiday season is notorious for giving back, the SIA and other clubs at school embrace the spirit of charity throughout the entire year. The Opening Doors Club is another club at school that works to serve the community, specifically homeless youth living in Oakland. The Opening Doors Club was founded in 2016, by senior Annika Furr. Most recently, the club put on the Necessity Drive and collected basic necessities to donate to the Oakland location of Covenant House California, a non-profit shelter providing housing and support for homeless youth from the ages of 18 to 24.
“I was really impressed by the club and their necessity drive because it was in reaction to an amazing speaker who came and said that while money is important, what the homeless youth really need are basic necessities like t-shirts, underwear, and toiletries,” the club’s teacher advisor Annie Miller said.
The drives and charity events put on by the SIA, Opening Doors Club and other clubs around the school such as ODFL, UNICEF, and Key Club promote philanthropy throughout the school community and help the students to stay aware of the less fortunate and how they can make a difference.
“I think that the best part of raising money and getting donations for this club is that it makes the students at school who have a lot more than the homeless kids feel more appreciative for what they have, and in turn want to give back even more,” Furr said.