Polo Park NJHS Brings Cheer To Hospital

For Polo Park Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society, sponsoring the school’s annual toy drive wasn’t simply about collecting toys. It was about finding a way to put as many smiles as they could on as many kids’ faces as possible. After collecting a school record of nearly 500 toys, 12 representatives from the NJHS headed over to Palms West Hospital on Dec. 20 to deliver a little holiday cheer for children in need of some.

Decked out in elf hats and Polo Park NJHS shirts, the group gave presents to all the children in the pediatric ward, the pediatric intensive care unit, the pediatric infusion unit and even in the emergency room. While some of the students walked around handing out presents, others stayed in the children’s playroom, reading stories, playing games and coloring with the kids who came to the common room for some well-deserved fun.

There were enough toys to not only hand out to every child in the hospital, but also plenty left over for children who come to the hospital in the weeks following the visit. The group also donated a number of board games, puzzles and play sets that the hospital can keep in the playroom.

“The students at Polo Park are so polite and friendly; a pleasure to work with,” said Michele Armand, a certified child life specialist at the Children’s Hospital at Palms West. “The patients were excited and amazed to receive so many presents. [This was] definitely not something they expected to get while in the hospital.”

The students handed out toys ranging from stuffed animals to dolls to remote control cars to super hero action figures. The gifts went to children of all ages, ranging from newborns and toddlers to elementary school age, even handing out some Target and iTunes gift cards to the teens.

“I loved seeing the smiles on their faces,” NJHS President Kaylee Sunderlin said. “I’m really proud to be a part of NJHS and projects like this one. Helping in the community, especially when it comes to doing something special for kids, feels amazing. This is a day I will never forget.”

ABOVE: Polo Park students with the gifts they collected.