Written by Michael Chen
The Teen Advisory Board (TAB) is running Toys for Kids, a toy drive that collects toys for underprivileged children, from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15. The mission of the toy drive is to provide underprivileged children in small, local organizations with gifts for the holidays. TAB has placed multiple donation bins around Palo Alto, including locations around Gunn and Palo Alto High School, where students and adults will be able to place their donations.
According to TAB co-president Aren Raisinghani, the board is also reaching out to numerous local schools, organizations and businesses for donations in order to expand the program’s success. “The Teen Advisory Board plans to take up the responsibility of the program by reaching out to schools in the Palo Alto Unified School District, the Palo Alto Police and Fire Departments, as well as local organizations and businesses to request donations for the drive,” Raisinghani said.
In the past, teenagers have had little to no knowledge about the program, and Raisinghani says that the board is implementing new methods of promoting the drive in order to get more teenagers involved. “We plan to use social media, posters, flyers, and word of mouth so that many people become aware of the drive and we obtain numerous donations,” Raisinghani said. “This will be helpful for teen awareness and will help maximize our donations, as teens can donate and influence peers and adults to donate.”
The program was founded in the Bay Area 30 years ago by a former City of Palo Alto employee Rob Steele, who just last year passed responsibility of the program to TAB. According to Raisinghani, Steele has confidence that TAB will continue to grow the program. “He feels that TAB is a good organization to pick up the cause and to help further expand the program and its success,” Raisinghani said.
Toys for Kids is similar to the Toys for Tots program founded by the United States Marine Corps, which also collects toys for underprivileged children. However, Toys for Kids focuses more on children in local, less recognized organizations. “Mr. Steele felt that the donations from the Toys for Tots drives mainly go to underprivileged children part of larger, more recognized organizations and do not benefit children in smaller organizations,” Raisinghani said. “Hence, he founded Toys for Kids to give children in smaller, local organizations gifts for the holiday season.”