Tiger Ambassadors Amps Up Toys for Tots Drive

After Tiger Ambassadors hosted a Toys for Tots drive from Nov. 3 – Dec. 3, they collected about 1,000 Christmas toys to donate to children.

“Mansfield High School always makes me so proud of how generous our school is every year,” Michelle Dudley, assessment and instructional specialist and Tiger Ambassador sponsor, said. “It never ceases to amaze me how generous our students really are.”

Tiger Ambassadors, a mentorship organization that helps new students assimilate to the school, formed four Toys for Tots committees. They decorated toy boxes, created posters, picked up toys and various other tasks for the drive.

“We have always had a committee formed because it is a lot of work to plan and execute ways to encourage donations,” Dudley said. “It is a busy time for everyone and hard to donate for so many families.”

While all schools in the district were involved with the Toys for Tots drive, Tiger Ambassadors committees hosted many events such as a pep rally, a race-to-raise envelope competition and a dress-up week.

“Last year for Toys for Tots, they tried to use different kinds of incentives, but it didn’t really work,” Toys for Tots committee co-president and senior Taylor Griffis said. “So we had to come up with new ways of doing it.”

The money from the race-to-raise competition, in which classes donated money to earn a snack cart, and teachers’ payment for jean passes raised about $1,100. This money was used to buy more toy donations.

“It was very stressful, but seeing the toys and everything we did was successful and fun, it was worth it,” Griffis said. “All these kids now are going to get all these toys. It’s going to help better the community and help kids have a special Christmas.”

Though the committee advertised heavily at the school, also went to local neighborhoods to pass out flyers to encourage the community to donate and picked up any donations along the way.

“My favorite part was whenever we were collecting toys off of porches, because we did it as a team,” Toys for Tots committee co-president and senior Rachel Schellsmidt said. “It was fun spending my afternoon picking up toys and seeing the progress made.”

While Mansfield usually loses to its rivalry, Lake Ridge High School, Mansfield has raised many donations still.

“We don’t succeed, but we try because it’d be a cool thing to win solely based on the goodwill of our school,” Schellsmidt said. “We don’t have a budget at all. All of the toys have been raised because of donations like our posters and paint were donated by officers. This is a purely donated drive for Mansfield High School.”

In conjunction with the drive, senior class officers hosted a social on Tuesday, where students who brought either $5 or a toy, were able to enjoy the provided food, music and games in the library.

“This year, some of our officers had the great idea to combine a fun social with a way to give back to the community,” English teacher and senior class sponsor Chrissy Boydstun said. “Our amazing PTSA senior parents didn’t hesitate to jump on board and donate food and drinks to make the social happen. Hopefully (we will) carry on this tradition every year from now on.”