Local high school student Hannah Goin is asking for the community’s help in supporting a toy drive for children at Palms West Hospital. The toy drive is underway, and people have until July 25 to participate.
Goin, a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Atlantic High School, loves children and wants to help each one feel special — particularly those needing medical treatment.
Her brother is a special-needs child, so she has experience in a lifestyle that focuses around his well-being. Going to the doctor’s office for appointments or to hospitals for tests has given her an up-close look at children dealing with health issues and the things they must cope with. These children are often lonely and need extra attention and comfort, Goin said.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program provides a curriculum that asks the students to broaden their view on the world, and especially their hometown community. Its mission aspires to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who will help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
The organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand the differences between cultures. The program provides an internationally accepted qualification for entry into higher education and is recognized by many universities worldwide.
Goin is working on her toy drive as a personal project as part of her studies.
“I picked this personal project because I have a special-needs brother,” Goin said. “Throughout my whole life, I have seen the things that help kids like him. I feel sometimes these kids are lonely. I want to brighten the lives of kids in the hospital and give them some toys to make them feel special.”
Her desire to help was spurred by first-hand knowledge.
“Sometimes I go to the doctor’s office or hospital with my brother,” Goin said. “It could be for a brain scan. I also go to places where associations put on activities for children with special needs, like soccer or baseball. I feel a lot of people in our society don’t have compassion for kids who are sick or may have special needs. I think we take things for granted.”
Her goal is to reach out and try to make things better.
“When I am around these environments, I try to reach out and to let them know I am here for them,” Goin said. “I want the kids to feel I care. I want them to feel special. I have experienced kids in wheelchairs, ones who are sick, and it’s a lonely place. I want to ask everyone to consider their needs. We should not take the lives of these children for granted.”
Her current toy drive is not her first foray into helping young patients.
“I volunteered for the Miracle League this past year,” Goin said. “They have a baseball game where the players are disabled. We go up with each child to bat, hit the ball and run around the bases together. It is so important to be involved.”
Goin has plans to eventually go into the medical field because of her passion for children.
“I want to be a doctor in the pediatric field,” she said. “When I see children who are sick, I have a soft spot. I want to help kids because I know what they are going through on a daily basis.”
Goin is asking the community to donate new toys for children from two years old to 10 years old. She thinks that boys would like things including toy cars, action figures, toy dinosaurs, robot toys, Treasure X Aliens, Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear and Minion toys.
For girls, Goin suggests Princess collections, Barbie dolls, baby dolls, bead sets, makeup sets, Princess Castle Playpen, Little Unicorn toys, Blume dolls, Barbie Travel Dream Plane, Disney’s Moana Adventure Collection, Shopkins and Hairdorables.
More generic toys like coloring books, crayons, puzzles and card games like Uno also make great donations.
The Children’s Hospital at Palms West has a pediatric unit featuring a playroom where children can feel special while taking a needed break from their treatments. The leisure activities for young patients help to reduce the stress of a stay in the hospital. The children’s unit provides private beds for 47 patients. The special floor is dedicated to young patients often in critical health.
For more information on donating toys, contact Hannah Goin at (561) 870-4927 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Members of the community can also drop toys off at the Town-Crier newspaper office in the original Wellington Mall at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 33, in Wellington until July 25.