Community Council hosts toy drive


Photographed by Kriste An

Simon Lee ’23 and Cosette Shamonki ’23 stand over the presents for the toy drive to hang decorations over the campus Christmas tee.

Kriste An

Community Council is partnering with the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) to host a toy drive on campus Nov. 29 to Dec. 17. Students are encouraged to donate new and unused toys for children who have suffered domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Founded in 1984, VIP is a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. The organization aims to guide and protect victims and their families by tutoring students and children in the program, providing professional mentoring and gathering donations.

Community Council member Mac Bailey ’23 said the group’s partnership with the VIP is especially meaningful given the rise of domestic violence during the pandemic.

“We decided to partner with the Violence Intervention Program [upon learning that] one of our members had a connection with them,” Bailey said. “The rest of us [were supportive of their cause], and we believed it was especially important to support this particular organization, given the rise of domestic violence over the pandemic. Our goal is to collect as many toys as possible and to provide students with an opportunity to give back to the greater community.”

Counselor and Interdisciplinary Studies and Independent Research Teacher Michelle Bracken said the toy drive and its partnership with the VIP is representative of Community Council’s goal to provide students with an opportunity to give back to the Los Angeles community.

“[This year], Community Council hopes to bring awareness to how students can help others in need,” Bracken said. “By sponsoring a toy drive, Community Council is providing [students with] an opportunity to donate toys to children who may not get anything [during the holidays]. Hopefully, students are able to participate in a small way and contribute to the kids involved with the VIP.”

Mia Patel ’24 said she appreciates that Community Council is working with VIP, giving her an opportunity to support a cause she cares deeply for.

“I am excited to hear that Community Council is bringing a toy drive to campus,” Patel said. “Domestic violence has always been an important issue to me, and I am glad that Community Council, as well as the rest of the student body, will be supporting victims who have suffered immeasurably.”

Phoebe Hsu ’24 said she looks forward to contributing to the toy drive as a means of giving back to the greater community, especially given the success of previous school-sanctioned drives.

“I am excited to give back to the community through my contribution to the drive,” Hsu said. “I enjoyed giving to the Thanksgiving Drive that Community Council planned a couple [of] weeks back, and I am thrilled to be able to continue my service to the greater community through the toy drive.”