In order to give back to the Wellington community, the Polo Park Middle School National Junior Honor Society recently held “Operation Toys for Smiles,” a toy drive where students donated new toys, which were collected, wrapped and handed out at the Children’s Hospital at Palms West. The students at Polo Park donated more than 100 toys for the event.
On Friday, Dec. 13, the NJHS students took all the toys to the hospital and spent the day giving out presents, reading stories, putting puzzles together and doing arts and crafts projects with the children in the hospital.
Going room to room, the students were able to brighten the day of the young patients with gifts for everyone, ranging from race cars to footballs, stuffed animals and princess dolls.
“It was obvious how much the gifts and time spent meant to the kids in the hospital,” NJHS co-sponsor Craig Kaliser said. ”But what really struck me was how much spending time with those kids meant to our NJHS students. It was nearly impossible to get our students to leave the hospital. They just wanted to stay and spend as much time as they could with those kids. To be honest, I’m not so sure that the positive outlook and bright smiles of those kids in the hospital didn’t have a bigger impact on our students than we had on them. I know our NJHS students really will remember this day for a long time.”
Prior to going to Palms West, the NJHS students raised awareness of the event by creating posters, encouraging parents and speaking to the entire student body. Once the toys were collected, the NJHS students used their impressive wrapping skills to wrap all the toys. Even though every student was not able to deliver the toys, many of them contributed by donating their time to ensure that each kid had a present to open.
ABOVE: Polo Park NJHS students bring toys to Palms West Hospital.