UA’s Black Student Leadership Council is hosting its annual black tie “Toy Ball” event in the Hotel Capstone ballroom on Nov. 16 from 7-9 p.m. Guests are required to bring two toys to donate to children for admission.
Benefits of the Toy Ball
Jada Burroughs, a sophomore majoring in accounting and finance and co-director of the Black Student Leadership Council under the SGA Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said the council hosts the event to help children in the greater Tuscaloosa area.
Burroughs said people attend the ball to donate toys for children in need, as well as come together for a night of fellowship. She also said the donations help make the kids’ Christmas.
“Toy Ball gives them something to look forward to and gives them a light and a smile in December,” Burroughs said.
Burroughs said Toy Ball is open to all UA students and will have a DJ, photobooth and light refreshments for guests.
“I love Toy Ball and I hope it continues. Toy Ball gives kids a Christmas to look forward to. That makes them so happy,” Burroughs said.
Other organizations chip in
Gabrielle Kirk, a sophomore majoring in history and education and co-director of the Black Student Leadership Council, said Toy Ball would not be happening if it wasn’t for the student-led organizations that have volunteered to help. She said the Theta Sigma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will be donating the toys to a local organization on Toy Ball’s behalf.
“The moment we said the event benefits children in Tuscaloosa, volunteers started coming from everywhere,” Kirk said.
Kirk said hearing stories from the past is motivational, and she’s heard about children who had never received Christmas presents but were able to because of the toys donated at Toy Ball.
“I hope Toy Ball gets bigger and bigger each year. The bigger it gets, the more toys and impact it will have on kids,” Kirk said.
Kirk said she knew she wanted to help represent her community as a member of the Black Student Leadership Council, and she hopes more events students start more events like Toy Ball in the future.
“My goal is to host more events like this for children to experience happiness,” Kirk said.
History of the Toy Ball
Last year’s director of the Black Student Leadership Council, Teralyn Campbell senior majoring in public relations, said the Toy Ball began in 2017 and has been the director’s responsibility to plan and host.
Burroughs decided to revamp the event and bring it back after the pandemic by meeting with Hotel Capstone and creating a partnership between the hotel and SGA. The new partnership will allow Hotel Capstone to be the longstanding venue for Toy Ball in the future.
Campbell said last year more than 350 students attended. The Toy Ball’s goal of 500 toys was surpassed after more than 750 toys were donated. This year, the organization has a goal of collecting 200 toys.
Campbell said each year the council chooses an organization to donate the toys to. The YMCA and Mind Changers, which received the donations in years past, will receive the toys this year as well.
Campbell said last year the BSLC helped organize a cookout at Hay Court where families could enjoy a meal and children could select one of the donated toys.
“I understand how important the season of giving and the spirit of giving is to young children who are unable to receive throughout the year. When you can plan an event with your peers and can be another child’s champion, it inspires children to be on the path that you are on,” Campbell said.
Campbell also said she enjoys giving back and allowing kids to see that there are students at the University that look like them.
“I am excited to see what the new director does this year, and I am wishing them the best of luck,” Campbell said.
She said she is glad the legacy and standard of BSLC is being continued and has faith in the council’s success with Toy Ball this year.