Student Spotlight: SUNY Downstate Medical Center Holiday Toy Drive

On December 18th and 20th, 2018, members of the SUNY Downstate Medical Center COTAD Chapter coordinated a holiday toy drive. The event COTAD Chapter leaders and students from the Occupational Therapy Classes of 2018, 2019 and 2020. Over two days, students wrapped and delivered presents to children and teens in a local Brooklyn homeless shelter. The children, teens and parents of the residence stated that they greatly appreciated the presents.

COTAD Chapter Chair Keiona Ellison ’19, COTAD Quarterly Call Representative Brittany Chandler '19, Holiday Toy Drive Co-Chairs Siham Bennis ’20 and Eirish Anne Doyogan ’20 worked together to organize the event by reaching out to SUNY Downstate students, faculty and staff. They raised over 200 toys and gift card donations and were able to give multiple gifts to each child within the complex. In addition, they were able to provide presents to their siblings and provide a sizable donation to the homeless shelter’s daycare center. This was accomplished under the leadership of faculty advisor Vikram Pagpatan, MS, OTR/L, ATP and Marjorie Norton, Residential Aide Supervisor at the Fannie Barnes homeless shelter.

Fannie Barnes is just one of many shelters under the organization known as Urban Strategies, Inc. Urban Strategies, Inc. provides transitional housing services for thousands of children, adults, pregnant women, and families in Brooklyn. They have successfully operated and managed shelters for over 28 years. They help to assist residents to attain permanent and independent living. The COTAD chapter student leadership at SUNY Downstate hopes to collaborate with Urban Strategies Inc. for future events!

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