Capital Region BOCES students played the part of Santa's elves recently as they delivered a sleigh filled with toys to the City Mission of Schenectady.
The students — members of the SkillsUSA chapter on the Albany campus — collected more than 200 items ranging from dolls and games to electronics from students on the campus.
The SkillsUSA students also collected more than $500, which they turned over to Capital Region BOCES CTE retail program students who, in turn, purchased more toys and games that were also donated to the City Mission.
While delivering to the mission on Wednesday, students volunteered at the organization's Christmas toy store, helping the less fortunate choose toys to give to their children.
"It has really opened some of the students' eyes as they learn about a level of need that they may have only heard about," said SkillsUSA advisor Deborah Toy, who oversaw the effort.
She added that it also the most rewarding for the students.
"The feedback we receive from our officers and class representatives is that this is one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences that they participate in," said Toy.
2015 CTE graduate Ryan Rafferty spoke about the experience at a BOCES-wide meeting in 2015.
"One of my favorite experiences was volunteering at the Christmas toy store. .... It was a very rewarding experience, as we not only helped but were able to interact with those receiving assistance," he said.
The mission's toy store assists more than 300 Schenectady families; Capital Region BOCES students assist those families in choosing appropriate gifts for their children, stocking the store's tables and wrapping gifts.
In the top photo, Madison Waddell from Shenendehowa and Angel Ferrand from Shenendehowa carry bags of toys.
In the photo to the right, CTE students and SkillsUSA officers pose. They are from left, Paige Nash from Scotia-Glenville, Brianna Colucci from Shenendehowa, Sam Groezinger from Guilderland, Devon Cooper from Schenectady, Savitri Persaud from Schenectady, Madison Waddell and Angel Ferrand.