It was about three weeks ago, that we reported a story about Ms. Kerrin O'Brien and Ms. Christine O'Leary's Oakdale Elementary School second grade class. The eighteen boys and girls were putting together a Holiday Toy Drive, the first of anything like this at the local school.
Since September, this class had planned on doing “something” – to give back and help the community. Shortly before Thanksgiving, the teachers heard about the Home For Little Wanderers “Big Wishes” Gift Drive. The Home has been around for about 200 years now, and helps thousands of families throughout the year.
Meetings were held, phone calls were made, fliers were posted, drop boxes were set up in school, and the Oakdale Toy Drive was underway! Now, even for second graders, you had to have a “goal.” These 7 and 8-year-olds figured, with approximately 300 students enrolled at the school, they'd like to collect 300 toys to donate.
The first week of their mission saw a few teachers and a few students bring things in from home. During recess and on their free time, the group of 2nd grade students circulated throughout the school, reminding their peers that there were children out there, not as fortunate as they were. Once the local media picked up on this story, things took off.
There wasn't a day that you could look at the Oakdale students lined up before the bell, that someone didn't have a toy tucked under their arm.
Local families stopped by the school with donations. One Grandmother wrote that she had read about their efforts and was so moved, she planned on bringing along a couple of extra toys during her next visit with her grandchildren.
With the sponsorship of the Boston Herald, WCVB-TV5, Caldwell-Banker, Bernie & Phyl's, and Magic 106.7, the Home for Little Wanderers set up a Toy Room at Legacy Place here in Dedham.
As Christmas break drew near, Oakdale parents volunteered to bring the toys to Legacy Place. The final count exceeded the student's expectations (over 300 toys and games) and the class, their teachers and Principal Holli Armstrong were rewarded for their hard work.
The folks from the Home were so touched, they invited the entire group to visit them at the Toy Room and they were treated to a special reading with beloved author/illustrator Peter Reynolds. Congratulations to this wonderful group of boys and girls and a well-done to the Oakdale Elementary School.