Rumbo | January 1st, 2015 | Edition 470 | Lawrence, MA
When Bentley University’s chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA) decided in November to sponsor a toy drive for the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence (BGCL), the students initially planned to give a gift to every one of the 70 youth members at the Beacon Club location. After raising $1,200, however, they purchased more than 50 items that can be enjoyed by all the Club kids.
Bentley University sophomore Jassi Gonzalez, the community service chair of ALPFA, said her fellow students enjoyed the holiday party on Dec. 5 as much as the children. Wearing elf ears and carrying piles of presents, the students accompanied Santa Claus to the surprised delight of the cheering kids. They distributed arts and crafts supplies, dozens of board games, and a Sony PlayStation 4 with an extra controller so the kids can compete against one another.
During the party, the students played games as the youth members enjoyed refreshments and Christmas music played in the background.
“They were an amazing group of kids – so fun, enthusiastic, and excited to see all these brand new toys. Their hugs at the end were very touching,” said Gonzalez, a Methuen native whose extended family lives in Lawrence. “When we got on the bus to go back to school, everyone said, ‘We have to do this again next year with the same group of kids.’ It was that impactful.”
Jill Rodriguez, director of the BGCL Beacon Club, said she is grateful for the students’ generosity.
“Every child from the housing development is living below the poverty line, so anything that comes to them is greatly appreciated,” she said. “We love giving to them, and we love to see the looks on their faces.”
BGCL offers volunteers and donors a variety of ways to contribute to its mission of changing kids’ lives. To learn more, visit www.lawrencebgc.com or contact Development Director Dennis McCarthy at (978) 683-2747, ext. 118 or firstname.lastname@example.org.