Written by Shamira James
According to the World Health Organization, around 15% of the world’s population is living with a disability. While some disabilities are less inhibiting than others, that doesn’t lessen the effect that they have on people’s lives. Toy Like Me is organization that helps the 140 million children worldwide shed some light on representation for kids in the toy industry who are different. On their website are different ways to get involved and take action on the issue, but there is also a way for everyone on the RC campus to get involved.
The RC base of this organization has the same goal as the larger picture: representation. What started as a May Term class for some has now become a full-on passion for others, and they are seeking to make a club and become an established cause on campus.
Junior Olivia Orent took Dr. Frances Bosch’s “Differabilites” May Term class this summer. While she learned a lot in the class, she came in already having such a drive for helping.
“When I was high school, I volunteered with the Special Olympics and I got to meet people with disabilities, and it was a really life changing experience. That’s actually why I’m a Health and Exercise Science major: so I can work with kids and help with physical therapy,” Orent said.
The club has already made really good progress for only having one week of fundraising, coming close to $400. The money will go towards toys for the big Modification Day project, where volunteers will come in and help change the toys for the kids.
“We raise so much money because we need quality toys for the kids,” Orent said. “Like we had this toy last year for this girl who has spina bifida and we had to melt the plastic on her back, so the toys need to be able to stand some pretty heavy modifications at times.”
The club has some big plans coming up within the next few months including their Santa Toy Drive, which in addition to the toys they’ll buy, will help on Modification Day, as well as participating in the Salem Christmas Parade. Orent said that the organization is hopeful to plan a party where they’ll rent out Colket and have kids with disabilities come and celebrate, having a good time in the spirit of being different.