Huntington High School students have hearts of gold, especially when it comes to helping children and families in need. More than eight dozen art students created eye-catching items and turned around and donated them to the Tri-CYA and Family Service League’s Project TOY initiative.
Project TOY (Treasures Our Youth) gives parents of struggling families an opportunity to choose two new unwrapped gifts for their children. The annual holiday boutique at the Tri-CYA facility is a time of utter joy for parents, who are excited to be able to provide their children with toys that they otherwise couldn’t afford.
The young Huntington artists toiled for weeks to create the attractive pieces. “My Creative Crafts and Advanced Ceramics & Sculpture students made clay ornaments, which were fired, glazed and embellished with glitter, paint and ribbon,” said teacher Kim Valerio, who worked with the teenagers. “My Fashion I, II, and III students designed and sewed stuffed toy items that they decided to call ‘wonder puffs.’ They were made with felt, buttons, ribbon, lace, beads and other materials.”
Ms. Valerio earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Parsons School of Design and a Master of Science degree in art education Long Island University-C.W. Post College. After completing her student teaching requirements in Huntington, she began working as a substitute teacher in the district.
Huntington art students donated gorgeous
art pieces to Project TOY.
Hired to work part-time in 2010, Ms. Valerio was elevated to full-time status in 2010. She has worked in all eight buildings in the district in some capacity and because of this she’s known many of her high school students since they were in elementary and middle school.
“Donating to Project TOY has become a holiday tradition in my art classes,” Ms. Valerio said. “My students have been making and donating projects each year since 2010.”
The creative experience was rewarding for the 100 students that participated in the initiative as well as Ms. Valerio, who enjoys discussing the teenagers she works with and the appealing work they frequently produce.