Carmel students collect toys for The Julian Center

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Carmel students donated and wrapped more than 500 toys this month to benefit children at The Julian Center, an Indianapolis nonprofit that assists victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault and their families.

Carmel Clay Middle School students were split into three groups: gift wrapping station, handwritten card making and the refreshment area for the toy drive on Friday Dec. 9 in the Carmel High School freshman cafeteria. (Submitted photo)

The Carmel Mayor’s Youth Council organized the event and teamed up with The National Junior Honor Society. High school and middle school students helped make it happen.

“As Creekside’s NJHS president in eighth grade, I knew that each middle school chapter was pretty isolated, so I wanted to figure out a way to bring them together and continue outreach to all youth of Carmel, not just high school students,” said Ryan Woock, president of the Carmel Mayor’s Youth Council and a senior at Carmel High School. “Given that it’s the holidays, we figured a toy drive would work well.”

NJHS students at all three middle schools in Carmel ran a toy drive from Nov. 29 to Dec. 8, and then they gathered inside the freshman cafeteria at Carmel High School on Dec. 9 to wrap the toys and write cards to the recipients. The event included refreshments and holiday games to make it a fun for attendees.

Woock said he believes this event will continue year after year.

“To think that this started off as a ‘what if’ and now it’s evolved into a NJHS tradition just proves that when you take the initiative you can really do anything you set your mind to,” Woock said. “It’s tremendously rewarding to have a lasting impact on the community, and I’m excited to see what the council and NJHS can do with it in the coming years.”


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