It is the season of giving and one fifth grader is on a mission to get gifts to children and families who often go without. Braylyne Blakey has always had presents under the tree during the holidays. But as the daughter of a St. Paul Police officer, she knows not everyone is as fortunate. Now, she is leading a lesson on generosity. She organized a Toy Drive at her school after learning her mom had a tough day at work.
“She works as a police officer and she does homeless outreach. When I got home, I asked her how her day was and she said, ‘There are a lot of people on the train because they don't have a place to stay.’ I said, 'Are they kids?' She said, 'yes,' and I said 'What about Christmas? Do they get anything?' She said, ‘maybe nothing.’
That is when Blakey wanted to step in and help. She told her mom she doesn’t want anything for Christmas. Instead, she wants to give gifts to other kids.
“I want to give back to other people,” she said.
It’s the first year the school has held a drive. Her classmates at Groves Academy in St. Louis Park were on board. And so was her teacher, Tegan Peterson.
Sometimes students like Blakey become teachers.
“She has an experience and a story to tell from her mom that she can share here with students. And one I don't have,” Peterson said “She can explain what her mom sees. We don't see a lot of homeless people or children.”
It’s the first year the school has held a drive. They also added some spice. The student body has been divided into teams. Now, they are competing to see what team can collect the most toys. They are collecting toys until December 13th. And, it is clear they all have a lot of love to give.
“It doesn't matter who wins, it just matter that kids get toys for Christmas,” Blakey said.