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Joliet West High School Academy Roundtable Students Partner with Tow Trucks for Tots to Provide Toys to Children at Presence St. Joseph Hospital

December 28, 2015 09:23 AM

Over 20 Joliet West High School students in the Health & Medicine and Human Services Academy Roundtable reported to duty at 5:30 a.m. on a cold morning in November to assist with the annual Tow Trucks for Tots parade and toy drive.  The students helped the toy drive collect 3,040 pounds of toys for area children this holiday season and watched as 256 trucks participated in the parade.

The Joliet West Health and Medicine and Human Services Academy Roundtable fundraises and holds a toy drive each year in order to visit patients in the pediatric department at St. Joseph Hospital and deliver some holiday cheer.  “This service project has really evolved and we are excited to partner with Tow Trucks for Tots and hope that we can continue to help each other help our community for years to come,” said Academy Coordinator Dan Markun.  “This partnership has really taken our toy drive to the next level.  Tow Trucks for Tots is an impressive event that results in a huge toy collection for area children.  Because of the generous donation of toys from Tow Trucks for Tots, we had plenty of gifts for each patient we visited this year and also left a box of toys to be given to other children in the hospital this holiday season.”

The partnership with Tow Trucks for Tots came to life as a result of the JTHS Foundation Awards, which is a yearly ceremony held to celebrate the JTHS students and staff who received grant funding.  “A portion of the grant ceremony allows the students deliver a brief report on how they will use the grant money,” said Markun.  “Our Academy Roundtable students reported on their grant, which provided funding to purchase toys for the children in the hospital.  The report piqued the interest of Central teacher Dale West’s father, Rusty, who was in the audience.  Rusty is a driver in the annual tow truck parade and put us in contact with Pat Winer who is founder of Tow Trucks for Tots.”

Tow Trucks for Tots made a donation to the Academy Roundtables toy drive last year, however, the partnership came full circle this year.  “Pat arranged for us to volunteer at the Tow Truck for Tots Event and in turn, we received a large donation of toys to deliver to the children at the hospital.  It is a beautiful partnership that allows our students to learn the true spirit of service and giving.” 

The patients and their parents are thankful for the gifts they receive.  “It’s always nice for our students to know that their kind acts are appreciated and we often receive emails of thanks.”

One note of thanks came from Megan Rodriguez whose son Adrian received presents and a visit from the students.  She writes, “We wish to thank you and the Academy Roundtable for visiting our son Adrian at Presence St Joe's Hospital.  Your thoughtfulness and generosity are greatly appreciated. You all made a little boy very happy. He played with those toys in the hospital and when we arrived home.  Thank you for spreading holiday cheer. You certainly made a difference and, although Adrian may not remember, his mother and father do and will not forget Adrian's smiles and cheers.”

In addition to community service, the partnership also has an academic component, where the Pediatric Patient Care Manager Toni Lee explains how the department functions, the different health careers that are involved within the department, and answers any questions that the students have as she escorts the students through her department.   “I am really proud of what the partnership provides to our students and the community,” said Markun.  “Our students are making a difference while engaged in learning and focused on their futures.” 

View Pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jths204/albums/72157660555770684‚Äč 



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