Nonprofit Collects Toys for Local Children

Donations poured in from community members and volunteers.

Donations poured in from community members and volunteers.

Children at a preschool in North Lauderdale received a very special delivery from some caring elves on Monday morning, when the staff from two local nonprofits dropped in with gifts collected from Broward residents during a holiday toy drive.

Early this month, the nonprofit organization HandsOn Broward set out to collect toys for the children at Tiny Town Academy, a North Lauderdale early childhood learning center.  With help from local volunteers and several staff members at the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, the organization collected 200 toys in just over a week – enough for each child in Tiny Town’s preschool and after-care programs and then some.

“Our volunteers and supporters have come out from all corners of the community to donate to the toy drive,” said Dale Hirsch, CEO of HandsOn Broward. “Their spirit of giving has been tremendous.  It’s what the holiday season is all about.”

CSC staff members wrapped the gifts for local children.

CSC staff members wrapped the gifts for local children.

Just days into the collection, drop-off boxes at the nonprofit’s office in Lauderhill were overflowing with remote-controlled cars, dolls, games and other gifts.  Once collected, volunteers from the Children’s Services Council staff wrapped and bagged the gifts before delivering them in person this past Monday.

“It’s great to know that our efforts will give the children of Tiny Town an extra reason to celebrate the Holidays,” said Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, President/CEO of the Children’s Services Council. “Every year CSC staff choose a project and contribute their own resources knowing that there is no greater gift than the knowledge that their effort will bring a smile to a child in need,” she added.

HandsOn Broward and CSC delivered the gifts to Tiny Town.

HandsOn Broward and CSC delivered the gifts to Tiny Town.

Both HandsOn Broward and the Children’s Services Council of Broward County provide resources for local children and families year round.  Individuals interested in learning how to become more involved in volunteering or supporting families in need are encouraged to contact HandsOn Broward at

About HandsOn Broward:  HandsOn Broward inspires, equips and mobilizes people to take action to positively affect change in Broward County. To learn more about HandsOn Broward’s upcoming service opportunities or to schedule a volunteer orientation at your organization or place of business, please call 954.233.1300 or visit us online at

About Children’s Services Council of Broward CountyAbout Children’s Services Council of Broward County:  The Children’s Services Council of Broward is an independent taxing authority which was established by a public referendum on September 5, 2000, which, through Public Act, Chapter 2000-461 of the laws of Florida, authorized the Council to levy up to 0.5 mills of property taxes. The role of the Council is to provide the leadership, advocacy and resources necessary to enhance children’s lives and empower them to become responsible, productive adults through collaborative planning and funding of a continuum of quality care.


December Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Marchetta

By Amanda Hoffman

This month’s December Volunteer Spotlight belongs to Tennessee native Melissa Marchetta. After moving to South Florida, Melissa was tired of not knowing directions or people in her area, so she decided to get involved in her new community. Last year, a simple search for volunteer opportunities pulled up the HandsOn Broward website and—voila!–Melissa started her volunteer work at Young at Art Children’s Museum.

What originally attracted Melissa to Young at Art was her love for children and “the experience of being wanted or needed by someone other than yourself or your family.” Since she started volunteering at YAA over a year ago, Melissa has loved every minute of YAA. “Never once did I not want to go,” she says. “I went twice a week and there was not a day when I woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I dread this.’”

For Melissa, there is never a dull moment at YAA. “I’m on the computer a lot, entering other volunteer’s hours or they might have me in the Alice and Wonderland exhibit doing a tea party with the little kids. Or I might show the field trip kids how to make puppets. There are so many different things to do that it keeps it exciting.”

For new volunteers, and potential YAA volunteers, Melissa encourages them to find a passion in their volunteer work. “Find something that you really enjoy, stick with it and I guarantee you will love it,” she says.  “A lot of volunteers feel forced to do it because they need the hours, but, in the long run, they will get something out of it that will change them inside.”

Before HandsOn Broward, Melissa worked at soup kitchens in Tennessee, making her no stranger to volunteering. Nor is she unfamiliar with the wonderful feeling of giving back. “There are so many places that need your help and it gives me so much joy, so much excitement, to see the kids that come in there to take classes. Volunteering makes you appreciate what you have.”

We’re so happy Melissa found HandsOn Broward last year. Thank you for all that you do, Melissa!