Monday, October 31, 2011

Volunteer of the month - September2011

Toybank gladly announces the volunteers of the month for September - Aryak Singh and Seema Achlan!

Its been great to have both of you to volunteer with us!

Aryak joined us in the month of July, since then he has been very enthusiastic about helping us. He has taken the responsibility of managing one Play Centre of Toybank. He has also helped us in the planning and communications during the Joy of Giving Week!
He is a 'Toybank Champ' in his corporate organisation where he helps us spread a word about Toybank and conduct a toy collection drive.

Seema has been a Toy Donor for almost two years now! She has driven many Toy collection drives in her housing society and has succeed to collect awesome toys for us!
This time she helped us to conduct a Toy collection drive in two of the Schools and helped us spread the word about Toybank by going and speaking to kids in different classes of the Schools!

Here's a small question-answer session Aryak:  

Toybank: What brought you to volunteer with us?

Aryak: The cause of lesserprivileged children has been one that I've always felt deeply for. In a country like ours, generations have grown up seeing poverty around us, and have somehow turned indifferent to it. Yet a child robbed of childhood is too heartrending a cry for anyone to ignore. I remember my childhood as a happy time of indulgence and I feel the need to give back. Hence I have been involved with children’s causes earlier as well. Toybank, presented a unique opportunity to make a difference on a large scale for a cause I really care about and this is precisely what got me here.

Toybank: What is your most memorable experience with Toybank?

Aryak: While it is quite difficult for me to point out one of the various experiences I've had at Toybank events, there is definitely one story I'd like to share. It was one of my initial follow-up sessions at a Toybank centre. While I had a great time interacting with the kids, as I was leaving I couldn't help but wonder if I was making a difference to the lives of these kids beyond the two hours of the session. Just then while I was about to step out the door, a little boy peeped from behind the door to ask, "Sir, aap fir kab aaogey?" (Sir , When will you come again ). That, innocent question right there - had all the answers.

Toybank: What do you think about volunteering in general?

Aryak: ‘To whom much is given, of him shall much be required.’ - Many of us forget to stop and count our blessings. Volunteering is a way to find incredible satisfaction by acting in accordance with your principles . A chance to add meaning to one's existence. While all this may sound very noble, but at a very primal level I like to think no effort goes unrewarded. Just like work may be rewarded by compensation, Volunteering is rewarded with happiness and satisfaction. The positive change that volunteering brings has a purging effect on everyone involved.

Toybank: What keeps you motivated to volunteer?

Aryak: Life has so much to offer if we remember to look beyond ourselves. Personally I think volunteering at Toybank gives me a new perspective. Every event throws up new opportunities, a chance to meet so many people to collaborate over a common cause and make a positive difference to the world we live in. All this keeps me up for more, always.

Our conversation with Seema is coming up soon...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Symantec and Toybank's: Mission Smiles!

As a part of Toybank's 7th Anniversary celebrations Symantec partnered with Toybank and collected 274 toys across its offices in Pune. A few employees from Symantec along with 10 Toybankers set out to distribute this lovely bunch of toys to tiny tots in constructions sites of Wakad, Pune on 24th September 2011. We were able to reach out to 180 kids through Door Step School.

'Door Step School' is an NGO which was started with the aim of addressing literacy amongst the marginalized sections of society and supports education of often forgotten little ones dwelling on pavements, slums, constructions sites and many others. The volunteers were touched by the experience and enjoyed teaching the kids to play games.The children in these centers were thrilled to become owners of the newly gifted toys.

 Read along to find out about the experience of our volunteers...

Sushma Joshi from Symantec says:

“Working with Toybank on one of their toy collection and distribution drives was indeed a very satisfying experience. It was amazing to see the dedication, ownership, commitment and passion that these enthusiasts brought to the entire activity. What impressed me was the professional and process oriented approach of the Toybank team that makes it such a seamless experience, for the people partnering with them. Right from the word ‘go’ the instructions, the help, the communication from the team had been so clear, prompt and adequate. There were well articulated guidelines at every step – from collection to wrapping to distribution.

The high point of the entire drive was the distribution which was a soul touching experience. One had to see it to believe how small gestures can bring so much happiness in lives! The anticipation that was writ large on all those little innocent faces when they saw the box filled with wrapped toys and the joy that radiated from their eyes when each one of them opened the gift and discovered a toy! No words can describe those moments. The children were so happy and proud of their new possessions. The strangers who delivered the gifts suddenly became instant friends and the rest was like a fairy tale. The kids jumped, danced, shouted with excitement. I personally enjoyed and treasured all these memories and feel privileged to have got this opportunity to contribute whatever little I could. I think the difference was that the volunteers just don’t go and distribute toys impersonally. They sit with the kids, spend time with them, indulge them in some creative activities – this I think demonstrates the thought of ‘adding joys to the lives of little children’.

Ankita from Door Step: We would like to thank Toybank and its volunteers for the wonderful toys and the efforts to bring smile on the faces of our children. We really appreciated that the toys were in very good condition, safe (no pointed edges or surfaces) and suitable for children. The toy library will be extremely helpful for our teachers to undertake different activities for the young kids and keep them engaged. We look forward to such wonderful activities and association with Toybank in future as well.

Catch the fun here :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Toybank's new Play centre at Sodawala Municipal School

Toybank in partnership with the Inner Wheel Club of Borivali sets up a Play Centre for the differently abled children in Sodawala Municipal School.

The toys provided by Toybank not only will help the children in improving their Math skills, but will also help them in enhancing their emotional and social skills.
Toybank will provide them with more toys every three months.

A big Thank You to Surekhaji and the teachers at Sodawala for your cooperation!

Check out some pics here

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Toybankers on the move to spread a word!

Through the Joy of Giving Week, Toybank tied up with number of institutions to spread the word about Toybank and also conduct toy collection drives!

We partnered with Schools and colleges like:
  • St. Gregorios School
  • Avalon Heights School
  • Little Oaks School
  • Tridha
  • Dalmia College
  • International College of Financial Planning
Toybank also conducted sensitization workshops for corporate employees at Deloitte, Cognizants and KPMG.

Toybank spread a word to 1000+ children and adults through these sensitization workshops during the Joy of Giving Week!

We would take this opportunity to thank our core volunteers who made these partnership possible!
  • Seema Achlan
  • Aryak Singh
  • Ritu Joshi
  • Nidhi Karnani
  • Shalaka Targe

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Toybanking during the Joy of Giving Week!

The “Festival of Philanthropy”, that is the Joy of Giving Week, is a time when India gets together to give and serve, a time for everyone to do their bit and spread happiness. Like every year, the Joy of Giving Week 2011 was celebrated from October 2-8, and Toybank joined in on the celebrations with a slew of interesting events that engaged children and adults alike, spreading joys across the city.
The celebrations started on Oct 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. Toybankers visited Snehasadan, a home for homeless children, for a story telling session for the children. Kids at the centre listened keenly to Gandhiji’s stories. Many also narrated stories that they knew. The interactive session brought out quite a few yarn spinners from the lot who thoroughly enjoyed narrating tales to their fellow mates. Later the kids drew pictures of the Father of the Nation and even wrote a few lines on him and shared them with us! The festivity spread to every child, and Toybankers left Snehasadan waving back to smiling & cheerful faces.

Kids at Snehasadan making their Gandhiji Pics!
The next stop on the fun train was YMCA Juhu. True to the theme of the day, Toybankers held a long discussion with the kids about Gandhiji’s Dandi March and Satyagraha Movement. Later, Toybankers taught the children how to make a Gandhi cap from a simple newspaper. Kids had a great time with this activity, making caps and showing each other their fancy creations and before we knew it the whole bunch was sporting caps and we had our very own batch of Dandi March-ers. Learning and fun don’t seem to be good partners, but seeing the enthusiasm the kids displayed during and after the session, The caretaker of YMCA had to remark, " this is the best event we could have to teach the kids about Gandhiji in a fun way! "

Kids at YMCA posing with their Gandhi caps on!
The Joy of giving week is for everyone, and to ensure that the ‘grownups’ aren’t left out of the celebrations, Toybank reached out to various corporate organizations and business houses ranging from financial service firms to IT giants. Toybankers set up kiosks across various offices where working professionals got to know more about Toybank and the work we do. Many individuals registered with us as volunteers for our events, quite a few also bought our badges to wear their support for Toybank on their hearts for the JGW. Toybank also organized sensitization workshops for professionals to make them aware of our cause and our efforts. Many organizations also organized toy-collection drives, collecting a large number of toys for the children we serve. Often professionals want to contribute, but with demanding schedules they fail to find opportunities at the right time, hence our outreach efforts were warmly received across all organizations and ‘Joy of giving’ spread a pleasant warmth in the corporate sphere.
Toybank also reached out to a number of schools and educational institutions, interacting with students, who are the future of our society. A sensitization workshop was conducted for children at Avalon Heights School, St. Gregorios School and Dalmia College. Young minds with loads of energy found Toybank’s cause of returning childhood particularly endearing. Every session was highly interactive and the youngsters threw volleys of questions at Toybankers wanting to know more and more about our work and the children we serve. The students also arranged a massive toy collection in all the three institutions. Toybank collected almost a 100 bags of toys for just these three institutions! At Tridha School too, Toybank conducted a sensitization workshop for the children. Students at ICoFP donated 2 bags of brand new toys to Toybank. Toybank also setup a kiosk at Little Oaks School on the open day to reach out to the parents of the children in the pre-primary school. Quite a few parents came to our kiosk and got to know more about Toybank. They also brought Toybank key chains, badges and greeting cards! Across schools students and parents alike showed tremendous interest in Toybank and its activities and pledged their support to our cause. The feelings of empathy and sharing generated in the young minds we interacted with were the prize for the efforts of the Toybankers. The joy of having shaped the youth for a responsible future is a feeling hard to describe.
Toybank Kiosk at the Little Oaks School
While Toybankers were rushing through all these establishments to spread our message, several other Toybankers across the city spread the ‘joy of giving’ by arranging Toy collection drives in their respective localities. People came out in large numbers to donate toys and Toybank received about thirty boxes of toys from such collection drives. Rotract club of Lala College and Rotract club of Uptown also chipped in with their own collection drives. Toybank also conducted a lot of play sessions at the play centre during the week. Toybankers visited their play centre in NGOs like Daya Sadan, St. Catherine’s Home and Parivartan Shikshan Santha.
All in all, the Joy of Giving week 2011 was one in which Toybank saw unprecedented interest and contribution across all sections of society. Such a massive participation by one and all across the city really reaffirmed our belief in the inherent goodness of humanity. Be it the kids at school who were happy to donate their own toys, or the busy professional who took out time to volunteer or the students who pledged their support to our cause, everyone experienced the Joy in Giving during the “Joy of Giving Week” .