Small trees adorned with angel-shaped paper ornaments are scattered around campus as a way to support foster kids. Each angel ornament includes a list of toys a specific foster child wants for the holidays.
The Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE) is collecting new toys to donate to local foster kids for its annual drive.
“I think bringing hope to young people is something that’s really important for the development of society in general,” said Jaelin Lespier, head of the CLCE Board for Youth and Education. “When young people are inspired and feel like they’re cared about and feel like they can achieve great things, they go on to achieve those great things. It starts with small things.”
Gifts donated to the toy drive go to the Foster Angels of Hillsborough County program, which works toward providing presents to kids who have been “placed in a foster home due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.”
“I think one thing that’s important to know is that each list has multiple toys or options on it for whoever’s hosting the foster angel to purchase, but you don’t have to purchase all of the items on the list,” Lespier said. “One or two items will still be donated to the child. So people don’t feel like, ‘Hey I can’t afford everything this kid is asking for, so I shouldn’t take a tag.’ Just one or two donations is welcome.”
Trees can be found at the Marshall Student Center, Campus Recreation, the CLCE, the athletic department, english department and the office of the registrar.
“We have two that are big outlets for students, which is the CLCE and Campus Rec,” Lespier said. “We’ve worked with them in the past, so they’re always really open to helping us out and hosting the trees.”
The CLCE is collecting toys as part of the drive until Thursday and they can be delivered to any of the trees on campus.