Helping Hands at Rand Road
By Ryan Williams
This past holiday season, the individuals in the Community Helping Hands program at Rand Road Elementary decided to exercise their ability to give, taking part in the 1st Annual Holiday Helping Hands Toy Drive. The teachers, students, and staff were invited to share in the giving and the entire project proved to be a huge success.
For the past three years, Rand Road Elementary teacher, Mr. Williams, took on the responsibility of becoming a mentor for the Community Helping Hands program in Wake County. The program is designed for African American males between 3rd and 8th grade with the goal of closing the academic achievement gap between this population and other groups. Starting with only two boys, the program has grown in only a three-year period to 17 male students and has commissioned the assistance of another Rand Road teacher, Mr. Watson.
The primary objective of the program is to help these young men academically, but it also aims to change their outlook on life so they are able to live productively and successfully. The program mentors plan to accomplish the goals by teaching the young men life skills and applicable lessons they will be able to use in the future.
There was an initial goal for the drive of collecting 50 toys and blankets, but after the boys of Helping Hands created flyers, made announcements on the school news, and spread the word throughout the school, the initial goal was not just met, it was quickly surpassed. With the hard work of every mentee in the program and the abundant generosity of the students and parents of Rand Road, the Toy Drive generated a collection of over 140 toys and blankets. All items were donated to the likely named Helping Hand Mission in Raleigh to underprivileged boys and girls.