Students and staff in Gwinnett schools have a strong commitment to helping others, in the community and around the world, especially during the holiday season. Across the district, schools are conducting toy drives, filling up local food banks, gathering winter clothing, sharing special holiday performances with their families and community members, and sending holiday greetings to service members overseas.
One long-running service project is the North Gwinnett Cluster’s participation in the annual Toys for Tots Drive, sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. For the past 17 years, DECA marketing students at North Gwinnett High School have coordinated the project, collecting an estimated 65,000-plus toys since 1999 for children in need. This year, the North Gwinnett community has donated nearly 5,000 toys, with a value of about $35,000. On Dec. 9, student leaders from each school visited North Gwinnett where a representative from the U.S. Marines accepted their donated toys and shared a certificate of appreciation.
All cluster schools held drives as did local businesses such as Lake Lanier Magical Nights of Lights and Chik-fil-A. Level Creek 4th graders encouraged their classmates to donate to the toy drive in a special holiday video. The children made up a song— "Toys for Tots Rock," sung to the tune of “Jingle Bell Rock”— that was played during announcements each morning. Other cluster schools held special events to promote the toy drive as well.
Dr. Jacqueline Huffman, North Gwinnett High’s DECA advisor, says the toy drive is a highlight of the year. “It is SUCH a wonderful sight to see the students pour into North carrying boxes of toys bigger than they are!”
If you’re looking for ways that your student, and the whole family, can get involved in volunteer efforts, check out these at-home tips.