BSAC Toy Drive

Giving back to the community is on the minds of many, especially during the holiday season. One Ames High club is not only placing this on their to-do list, but also making the time and commitment to accomplish the task.

Geniya Collins and Kenaiya James, are both seniors and founders of the Black Students Alliance Club (BSAC) at Ames High. BSAC advocates for black students at AHS and works to engage with the community as a whole. James and Collins started the club after organizing a conference last winter with community members and ISU professors leading sessions surrounding topics that embraced and taught black history. Creating a club to help plan future events allowed more input and help in order for future endeavors to be successful. 

One such event was their Give-A-Toy Donation Drive. They collected new or gently used toys for families in the Ames community through donation boxes at three drop off locations: Northwood Preschool, Sawyer Elementary, and Edwards Elementary. 

“We decided to organize a toy drive because we wanted to give back to families who are less fortunate,” said James. “We know that toys don’t fix all the problems, but it could brighten up a child’s day.”

The event ran through December 21, 2021, when Collins and James would then deliver the donations to The Bridge Home of Ames. According to their website, The Bridge Home is a non-profit organization devoted to bridging the gap between homelessness and housing by providing shelter, support, and inspiring a pathway forward for individuals and families experiencing or on the verge of homelessness. Their mission is to walk with those who have fallen on hard times and help them find hope and a home. Collins and James both agree that through this toy drive, they aspire to find hope for families who have fallen on hard times. 

“After contacting them and reading their mission,” says James, “we knew this would be a perfect fit.”

While BSAC set out to get donations in order to help families in need this holiday season, they really had no idea how many they might collect. Both Collins and James were full of excitement as they picked up overflowing boxes of donations. After collecting from all three locations, their car was completely filled. Their joy was evident as they knew each item would bring a smile to a child in need.

“We can’t wait to see their faces when we show up with this many donations,” said Collins.

With the toy drive complete, Collins and James won’t take much time to rest. They are already planning their next event which includes working with middle school students. Through BSAC, they want to not only advocate for the black community, but also engage with the Ames community in order to make a difference. 

“Next semester,” said James, “we plan on working with eighth graders in the middle school in order to build a connection and allow them to create a sense of belonging.”