Sylvia’s Toys for Christmas in July: Community Service Scholarships for Kids
WBRZ News Anchor and President of Sylvia’s Toys For Christmas Sylvia Weatherspoon celebrated Christmas in July, donating $1000.00 in scholarships to 26 children in East Baton Rouge Parish for community service projects. The special event was held on Saturday, July 16 at the Goodwood Library.
On July 4, Weatherspoon wrote a post on social media, calling for “10 adorable children ages 5-12” to participate in her first Sylvia’s Toys for Christmas in July Community Service Scholarship for Kids event. She asked them to email her two paragraphs explaining how they believe children can make a difference through community service. Weatherspoon received dozens of emails.
“Most wrote full letters (many with their parents help, I suspect). I asked them to include a photo of themselves. All of those sweet faces is what really did it! Three days later, I sent out congratulation emails to every child who contacted me…26 total,” she shares.
Weatherspoon provided age-appropriate community service projects for each child, allowing them to choose one. The projects varied from creating birthday cards for children in temporary housing to purchasing a package of diapers to support the local diaper bank. The scholarships ($25-50) cover the cost of the items needed for the projects.
“I thought it would be great to give kids a fun project to do before they head back to school, which allows them to have the childhood experience of giving back to our community, so they can see and feel first hand the important role they can play in helping to make a difference.”
The children have until July 30 to complete their project, and they have been instructed to journal with videos and pictures to document their experience. The videos and pictures will be posted on the Sylvia’s Toys For Christmas website and some will be featured on WBRZ. Each child will also receive a certificate of completion.
Weatherspoon, who co-anchors the weeknight primetime news on WBRZ, says so much of the reporting recently is either about children caught up in bad decisions, which lands them in jail …many before their 18th birthday. She believes mentoring is a critical component in addressing the problem. Weatherspoon focuses on educating and encouraging children on ways they can have a positive impact in their neighborhoods.
The scholarships are funded through donations to SYLVIA’S TOYS FOR CHRISTMAS, A 501 (c)(3) Tax exempt nonprofit organization founded by Weatherspoon in 2015.
SYLVIA’S TOYS FOR CHRISTMAS has donated thousands of new toys to children in EBR, Livingston, and Ascension Parishes, and last December, partnered with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, providing toys for children impacted from the deadly tornadoes in Kentucky in 2021.