Toy joy: The sociology club brings joy to kids over the holidays


Photo by Andie Harmon

Jillian Thomas, Staff Writer

According to, the national child poverty rate is at 17.4% near the end of 2022. This percentage has increased from 12.1% in December 2021 to 17% in May of 2022, which is the highest it’s been since the end of 2022. 

The sociology  toy drive is a student lead project hoping to help kids who are not as fortunate as others. This drive focuses on giving presents to young kids for them to open on Christmas, as some usually don’t have anything to open. These club members spend time working on decorating bins and carts to hold donations and advertising the drive as much as they can. Stephanie Gilbert, psychology and sociology teacher at NHS, has always loved helping students and her community as much as she can.

“I submitted a proposal in 2012 to begin a sociology club at Noblesville High School, [and] it was approved and 2013 was the first year,” Gilbert said.  It’s been 9 years since the toy drive has started, and thousands of kids have gotten new toys and clothes from it. Gilbert wants to continue this drive throughout the rest of her teaching career through the sociology club, as long as people continue to donate and contribute.The idea sprung to her from an old family tradition.

“My husband and I have a tradition of buying toys on Black Friday and taking them to the Fire Department for their toy drive,” Gilbert said. “We always took our kids out shopping to fill a cart of toys to donate. One year the firemen talked about how few donations they’d received and how much they appreciated our donation.”

Gilbert ended up falling in love with this tradition because she knew just how happy she was making these kids, and the smiles from the firefighters every year when the toys were dropped off was something that made her heart whole. She wanted to take it a step further and expand it to a much bigger platform. 

“Since I teach at one of the largest institutions in Noblesville, I had the idea of presenting the Sociology Club with the idea of partnering with the Fire Department to help them get enough toys for the community kids for their holiday toy drive,” said Gilbert. 

NHS agreed to help start this program with the school and the Fire Department, and the first toy drive took place in 2013. To some students, this has been a beneficial experience. The club and its toy drive is very important to junior Sofiya Berezny. 

“Early childhood is important for your mental and emotional mind. Some kids don’t have the same opportunities as others and it’s important to give kids an outlet for happiness,” Berezny said.

Berezny believes that kids need to have a loving and learning childhood and she mentions how crucial it is that all kids get the holiday experience that more fortunate kids get to have. There are a lot of items that you are able to donate to the bins that don’t have to cost a fortune, according to Senior Rebecca Kreimer.

“The club is accepting new toys only, but they can be for any age 0-18 years old. Many times when people think of toys, they think of young children aged toys, but it is important to have a variety for all sorts of children in Noblesville” Kreimer said. 

If you are hoping to make a change and simply make a child’s day,  you can donate all toys to room 2210 in Mrs Gilbert’s room by December 6th. If you are interested in meeting new people and helping the community, the sociology club might be a great fit for you.