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Students Take Holiday Stroll To Decorate ‘Tot Toys’ Tree
The students from Riverbank Language Academy’s After School Program decorated the Toys for Tots tree with their handmade decorations this past Friday at Save Mart. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The Toys for Tots toy drive has returned this holiday season to provide toys for families that are in need and the collection is underway in Riverbank.

Students of the Riverbank Language Academy (RLA) After School Program recently went on a walking field trip to Save Mart to decorate the Toys for Tots Christmas tree.

After School Program Advisor Monica Villarreal and Riverbank City Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez collaborated to have the tree decorated.

“We decorate the tree every year during the Toys for Tots toy collection time,” stated Barber-Martinez. “The decorations were very creative. The students had fun and the adults did too.”

The sunny but cool winter day made it a good setting for RLA students to take a stroll from campus to the Crossroads Shopping Center. The junior high kids from grades 6 through 8 were all smiles and full of energy as they rounded the corner to enter Save Mart.

“We take the junior high students on walking field trips regularly in our community,” said Villarreal. “We asked our students if this was something they would want to do and they were excited to go and participate to help decorate the tree.”

The After School Program has approximately 20 students at the charter school and nine of them participated in the field trip this past Friday. The students spent the past two weeks making decorations for the Christmas tree. The decorations were colorful and bright turning the tree into something festive.

Once the tree was decorated students were treated to some cookies provided by Barber-Martinez and hot chocolate supplied by Villarreal. Parents picked up the students at the store.

“The tree decorating was fun for the students, and they also got to do a little shopping in the store afterwards,” added Villarreal. “The parents of the Riverbank Language Academy After School Program are very supportive. They were happy to come to Save Mart and pick up their kids.” 

There are Toys for Tots collection boxes at several locations throughout Riverbank including Save Mart, Holistic Life Institute on Santa Fe Street, El Mezquite Bar and Grill, Glam Salon, and New Life Community Church. The collection will continue through Dec. 16 with the toys distributed on Dec. 18.

Students created colorful decorations to put on the Toys for Tots Christmas tree during their time in the After School Program at Riverbank Language Academy over the past couple of weeks. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS
Riverbank Language Academy After School Program students had a great time on their field trip, walking to Save Mart last week to decorate the Toys for Tots tree. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS