LONDON — Madison-Plains FFA students have donated 242 toys to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
They raised the bar in 2017, according to Martina Miller, student FFA office treasurer, surpassing their goal of 225 donated toys. This was Madison-Plains’ fourth annual Toy Drive, which the FFA Officer Team fully facilitated. The team is composed of 11 students.
“This is something that means a lot to me,” said Miller. “Making sure that these kids going through such a traumatic time get a really nice Christmas gift.” The students delivered the toys to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in December 2017.
The team put up flyers and made announcements throughout the school, encouraging other students and faculty to donate, according to Ian Richards, student FFA vice president and Jacob Petee, student FFA president.
“We have to make sure we set a high goal,” said Richards. “One that is attainable and we make sure that everybody does their part to reach that goal.”
The word definitely reached first-year FFA student Sara Sampson, who donated 11 toys to the cause. She says that the kids who have been hospitalized or are having surgeries are under a lot of stress, and they “need reassurance that people are there for them.”
The FFA students take care of organizing the entire Toy Drive, says Gary Hoffman, Madison-Plains Vo Ag teacher, and “they’re delivering the toys, they set the goal, and they help encourage their classmates to turn in toys.”
Hoffman emphasized the aspect of giving back to the community. He encourages his students to participate in at least two activities outside of the classroom every nine weeks. This might include the Toy Drive, Adopt-A-Highway, Canned Food Drive or the FFA Banquet — just some events FFA students participate in throughout the year.
“FFA is not just about the agricultural community,” said Miller, who kept track of the Toy Drive numbers. “We reach out to Children’s Hospital. We do multiple fundraisers, such as Food For America. We just want to reach out and help communities around Ohio.”
The students’ community participation is just the beginning for their future, as Madison-Plains Vo Ag Teacher Shelby Balint wants them to “become global leaders, get experiences, get out of their comfort zone, and try new things.”
The team is currently working on their national chapter application, which recognizes everything the team does throughout the year. “That’s a pretty big deal for us,” said Balint. They will then be recognized and ranked onstage at the National Convention in Indianapolis.
The team’s next big event will be the FFA annual banquet in March. Approximately 700 people attend the banquet, including FFA students, family, friends, community members, local businesses, state representatives and local politicians.
About the students
Jacob Petee, senior, FFA president: Interests are in crop production, farm placement and swine production. His future plans will be somewhere in the agricultural field.
Ian Richards, senior, FFA vice president: Interests are in vegetable and poultry production. He plans to enlist in the military after he graduates.
Martina Miller, junior, FFA treasurer: Shows, breeds and sells market Boer goats and works with horses. After high school, she plans to go to college for nursing.
Sara Sampson, freshmen, FFA member: Interests are in equestrian and she plans to work with animals in her future, such as zoology.