Diana is a junior at the Academy at Forest View who enjoys playing soccer and is considering a future career in nursing or cosmetology. Diana has faced some significant challenges in her life but they haven't deterred her. Instead, they have inspired her to advocate for herself and others.
Diana remembers not having many toys as a young girl. From this experience, Diana shared, "I don't like to think of other kids without toys with a frown; I want to make their holiday magical." After seeing toy drives outside of school, Diana thought "Why don't we do one at our school?"
And so, the Annual Toy Drive at the Academy was born. This year, for the third consecutive year, Diana teamed up with staff and classmates in her homeroom to organize the drive and deliver toys to children at the Hephzibah Home in Oak Park.
Academy students created collection boxes, prepared posters with wish lists and they checked the boxes each day to organize them for the delivery.
This year Diana wanted to "make the drive even bigger," and wrote an email to the superintendent to see if she could add collection boxes on the floor of the District administrative offices. She was very excited to receive a response from Dr. Schuler approving her request.
Even more exciting – her idea worked! Academy students went from collecting just over 50 toys last year to 302 this year.
On December 8, Diana went with staff and a few classmates to the Hephzibah home to make their delivery. They were so happy to see the smiles on the faces of the children they met that day. Diana is already looking forward to next year and is already creating a plan to make sure the Toy Drive continues after she graduates.
Community service is embedded in the culture of all schools in District 214. Diana is an inspiring reminder to us all that just one person can make a difference.