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Oh 'boykin' they give: FBE donates items to Callen-Lacey home

Published on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021

Foxbank Elementary is full of little “givers”.

With November being the month of giving, the whole school took on a big donation project to give back to a local organization that advocates for children in Berkeley County.

The school partnered with the Callen-Lacey Center for Children to collect items for the children who reside there as part of the “Oh Boykin We Give” drive. The center is a foster home for local children.

The Carolina Youth Development Center is the organization over the Callen-Lacey Center for Children; Callen-Lacey is the name of the residential facility located in Moncks Corner, and it is one of four cottages the Carolina Youth Development Center is currently operating – the other three are on a shared campus in North Charleston.

Foxbank Elementary third-grade teacher Tori Huerth is the school’s Teacher of the Year. Huerth serves on Berkeley County School District’s Teacher Forum, and was inspired to start a school-wide drive after hearing from Dan Daniel, Vice President of Development for the Carolina Youth Development Center, who spoke at a Teacher Forum meeting earlier this school year.

Huerth said Teacher Forum collected a few bicycles for the Callen-Lacey cottage, so Daniel had come to a meeting to speak about the Callen-Lacey cottage.

“After the meeting, I felt like we could (and should) do something to help out, especially since those kids are so close to us and attend Berkeley County schools,” Huerth said.

After getting the go-ahead from Principal Natalie Lockliear, Huerth organized a school-wide drive during November to knock off some items from the cottage’s wishlist.

Foxbank Elementary students were asked to bring in items to their classroom teacher up through Nov. 19. Each grade level collected a different type of item: kindergartners gathered small indoor games; first-graders brought in pajamas and small fidget toys; second-graders submitted gift cards; third and fifth-graders provided outdoor game items; and fourth-graders also gathered small fidget toys.

Looking through the merchandise, Foxbank Elementary students donated a lot of different kind of balls, a couple of kite kits, lots of gift cards and more.

“They did a great job bringing in a variety of stuff,” Huerth said.

Daniel said the Carolina Youth Development Center is thrilled for the recent support that BCSD’s Teacher Forum, and Foxbank Elementary, have provided to the Callen-Lacey cottage.

“It allows us to make sure that the kids have activities that are healthy, activities that are wholesome, and activities that their parents might not be able to provide them,” Daniel said, adding that the Center has a large network of supporters across the tri-county area. “We always are soliciting donations, and we have the good fortune of having people donate throughout the year.”

Daniel said hearing that Foxbank Elementary wanted to donate was very exciting, “particularly since this is a group of kids and their teachers who understand the value of helping out other kids who may be going through difficult times, or are less fortunate than they are.”

The Carolina Youth Development Center has an annual budget of about $4.5 million; less than half of that is reimbursements by the state for the services it provides.

“So philanthropy is a huge part of our budget, and it makes it possible for us to do the things we do,” Daniel said.

Huerth’s students helped sort through the items last week – watch the attached video of the students at work sorting, plus third-graders Arely Sanchez-Sanchez and Olivia Smoyer talking about the toy drive (video clips submitted by Media Specialist Jacqueline Bresse-Rodenkirk). Huerth had all the items loaded to a dolly cart on Nov. 30, which happened to be Giving Tuesday. Following dismissal, Huerth loaded the items into her car, and then she and special services teacher Starnell Wilkes drove over to the Callen-Lacey cottage to drop off the items.

Huerth said Foxbank Elementary students brought in an estimated 100-plus items to be donated. She said she was impressed by the reception of the whole school.

“I think they did really well,” she said, adding that students got excited about presenting the items to their teachers as they brought them in. “They were so sweet…It was precious.”

 tori huerth wheels donations through hallway tori huerth loading car  

BCSD photos / Monica Kreber

Monica Kreber