Navy Child and Youth Programs (CYP) partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Toy Industry Foundation to provide 1,000 free toys to military youth at the Bayview Community Center in National City, Calif., March 2.
The event was designed to give military children exposure to the programs offered at the eight community centers around San Diego as well as spread some cheer with the kids, said Linda Watson, regional training and curriculum specialist for the Navy’s Fleet, Family & Child Programs, Navy Region Southwest.
“Navy kids need so much more,” said Watson. “They’ve got to deal with so many more stresses. Anything we can do to make their life a little bit happier, that’s our job.”
The event included activities such as paper bag puppets, stamp art, gliders, face painting and some teen-oriented programming in hopes of informing the military community of the events going on at the Navy community centers.
Approximately 30 uniformed Sailors from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 57 and Navy Medical Center San Diego, with the help of community teenagers, were present as volunteers to help pass out the toys.
“I want to the kids to see other people, besides their parents, doing good things in their uniform,” Watson said.
Vinji Decena, CYP team lead, said that he has seen some good excitement from the community and expects good support.
The Toy Industry Foundation, a non-profit organization, has worked with different toy manufacturers around the nation to collect the toys for the event, Watson said.
With continued support, Watson and Decena said they would both like to see where this could go.
“We’d love to do it every year, that would be awesome,” said Decena.