2016 Young Alumni Toy DriveThe values and ideals McQuaid Jesuit students are taught to live by don't stop when they walk across the Eastman Theatre stage. It is the hope that our graduates will continue to live out the mission of being "Men for Others" and doing their part to "Set the World on Fire."

This hope became reality in December as the Young Alumni Board of McQuaid Jesuit organized and ran their own toy drive to benefit Willow Domestic Violence Center. Through social media, email, and word of mouth, the 13 members of the board encouraged fellow alumni to make a donation to help fill the center's new playroom. 

"We all remember doing different drives during our time as students that greatly benefited local charities," said Andrew Pluta, '03. "Our thought was to extend that process and offer a way for guys who are now alumni to once again benefit a charity."

The board chose Willow Domestic Violence Center once they learned that the organization recently had moved to a new location and was in need of toys to fill its empty playroom. The center serves families who have survived trauma, violence, abuse, and relocation. The children in the shelter are away from everything familiar to them and the playroom serves as a small way the children can put their troubles behind them for a little while.

From December 16 - 23, bins were set up at McQuaid as well as Roc Brewing Co., which is owned and operated by young alumni board member Chris Spinelli, '04, to allow alumni to drop off new toys to donate. An Amazon Wish List also was created and made it easy for alumni to log on, select a toy to donate, and have it sent directly to the center. 

"It was wonderful to have McQuaid alumni participate in our annual Purple Box Campaign this holiday season," said Larissa Bolalek, events and community coordinator at Willow. "The toys they donated contributed to making Willow's new house a home."

"It was the first time we tried this and the feedback I received from fellow alumni was very positive," said Joe Doyle, '02, president of the Young Alumni Board. "We look forward to making this type of drive an annual occurrence for McQuaid alumni."

In total, more than 40 toys totaling more than $1,000 were donated.