Changing lives one toy at a time

By Gerardo Zavala

Fate has never been more unpleasant than for the families and children whom spend their days living in detention centers waiting for that spark of hope for a normal life to loom before them. Through this, children are required to mature in the harsh elements of detention centers and are not given the chance to live a normal life. They are not able to play ball, play the newest video game everyone is talking about or eat the same food because all they know is pain, misery and that life is hard and unforgiving.

That is all going to change. Partnering up with RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Service), the Our Lady of the Lake University Residence Life team has created a Toy Drive for the sole purpose of giving to those immigrant children that have nothing and create a much happier world for them. OLLU Residence Life Coordinator Alex Ruiz looked into the situation and acted upon it. “I’m personally interning right now with RAICES, and we offer low cost and free legal aid to immigrants crossing the border or just arriving in the U.S., and most of the people that come in are actually children,” he said.

Ruiz expressed his pride of the organization and its commitment in helping those in need. “We decided to sponsor a toy drive called Día del niňo which is April 30 this year, so that way we can take those gifts to the bus station and present the kids with at least something so they can feel a little more welcome whenever they get off the bus and back to a normal life,” he said.

This event has been built for the happiness of the children that have none, and many students are taking a role in this goal. Sophomore Tiora Zuniga was moved by the message of this event, and wishes to take a part of the cause. “We should definitely donate to the less fortunate. It would make them feel human again, and help validate their humanity.” Zuniga and many others have chosen to donate to this cause for the sole purpose of bringing happiness to those children whom have nothing. They chose to contribute their presents and gifts to those children whom have not experienced any joy throughout their lives. “A child going through that experience, you’re not thinking about a toy, you’re probably thinking something much more, like their minds are being forced to mature, but being given a toy, they get to be a child. They get to hold onto something that’s sentimental and also appeals to them,” Zuniga said.

Students in the OLLU community have the chance to donate to this cause and there are many opportunities to do it. “If any students want to donate, they can donate to the office of Residence Life at the Lakeview apartments. Just ask for Alex Ruiz, and I’d be happy to take any donations,” Ruiz said. Residence Life will be accepting toys until April 26 for any students who wishes to contribute to this event.

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