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Discovery cheerleaders remember Toys for Tots for Christmas



MADISON – Eighty youngsters will have a surprise on Christmas morning, thanks to the basketball cheerleaders at Discovery Middle School.

The squad conducted a Toys for Tots drive. A parent had voiced interest for “the girls to become more involved in the community and service projects,” sponsor and English teacher Dixie Elrod said.

“Julie Ricketts suggested we ask permission for Discovery to be a Toys for Tots drop-off location. Our principal, Melanie Barkley, gave us her blessing,” Elrod said.

To encourage donations, media specialist Missy Jenkins and media center aide Deb Harlow offered to erase students’ fines for a donated toy in the library’s collection bin.

Discovery students donated 80 items, including stuffed bears and dogs, Spiderman and superhero toys, “Operation” and other board games, puzzles, Barbie dolls and kids’ jewelry.

“Our main goal was to encourage students to focus on the giving aspect of the holidays,” Elrod said. “Many students are blessed and fortunate. Toys for Tots is a great way for kids to give back to kids.”

Student Annika Gomez “felt upset because I know some kids aren’t as fortunate as I am. Some people take a lot of things for granted. I just wanted to give back.”

Anya Smith took pride in helping other people. “I felt like I did my part,” Smith said. Dale Taylor likes to give and said “those kids might not get anything for Christmas if we don’t do anything about it.”

Grace Davis counted the donations. “It was a lot of toys I would’ve liked to have as a kid,” Davis said.

“The act of giving to someone in need forces them to change their perspective, however momentarily,” Elrod said. “Instead of focusing inward, they focus outward on others. That change of perspective allows them to make a meaningful and selfless contribution to the community.”

Since 1995, Toys for Tots has been an official activity of the U. S. Marine Corps. An U.S. Marine will pick up Discovery’s donations. For monetary donations, visit toysfortots.org.

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