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'Raiders Reaching Out' collects toy donations for pediatric rehabilitation


Amanda Tafolla / The Sun-Telegraph

SHS teacher Brett Avila took several of his students to Walmart on Wednesday to purchase toys for the "Raiders Reaching Out" program, now in its second year. The purchases were funded through a $75 gift card donation from Walmart.

Sidney High school students are collecting toy donations through Tuesday next week to benefit the Pediatric Rehabilitation Ward of Regional Medical Center in a project called "Raiders Reaching Out." This is the project's second year.

Teacher Brett Avila's sixth period Human Development Class began brainstorming their concept for the project earlier this month.

Carley Witt, a sophomore in the class, said that the students were inspired to choose the Regional West Medical Center Pediatric Rehabilitation clinic when the class started talking about how kids grow through the stages of life.

"Last year, they did a food drive for homeless teenagers in Scottsbluff," said sophomore Ashley Tyson.

Amanda Tafolla / The Sun-Telegraph

Sidney students Ashley Tyson, Carley Witt and Cassie Kilmurray prepare containers for toy donations to the SHS's second year of "Raiders Reaching Out." The donation will go to children in rehabilitation programs at the Regional West Medical Center Pediatric Rehabilitation clinic.

For that initial year, students collected hygiene supplies, recreation equipment, housewares, and art supplies, along with shoes and clothing, which were then donated to housing programs, group homes, teen shelters and the teen outreach programs at Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska, a nonprofit, community-based health and human services organization that serves low-income, disadvantaged and those unable to meet needs through other sources.

For this year's "Raiders Reaching Out," the class is collecting items such as rubber balls with textures, toy cars, blocks, legos, cardboard books, small action figures, whistles, balloons, jump ropes, blow up beach balls, lacing cards, sticker books, rubber animal toys with squeakers or texture, dolls or stuffed toys with clothes that come off and on, pencil grips, art supplies and pop beads.

The toys will serve as a reward after a child's session of therapy is over, as well as help with fine motor skills and to build muscles, Witt said.

"It's a very rewarding experience and will help because I want to work in the medical field with children and pediatrics," Sophomore Emma Alexander said.

Donations of the toys listed above can be dropped off at Points West Community Bank downtown location, the Sidney High School and Subway located on Glover Rd. The donation drive continues through Tuesday, April 26.


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