Cadets and staff at Sarasota Military Academy, a local, public charter school, recently hosted the annual Marine Toys for Tots donation drive at both the high school campus, located at 801 North Orange Ave and Prep middle school campus, located at 3101 Bethel Lane in Sarasota. Donations were accepted until December 19, 2019 and included new, unwrapped toys and bikes from staff and cadets.
This year, in addition to 13 large boxes filled, 23 new bikes were collected – a record for Sarasota Military Academy cadets and staff.
With a mission to collect new, unwrapped toys for distribution as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community, the primary goal of Marine Toys for Tots, according to the Toys for Tots website, is to deliver a message of hope to youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.
“The goal is to teach our cadets about the impact of giving. How it impacts them and those in our community who are in need, and that no matter how great or how small the donation is, it’s always important to give. This particular program is my passion, and our staff, cadets and families are so incredibly giving. It’s such an important, and overwhelmingly positive, part of the holiday season at SMA,” said SMA-COL Christina Bowman, Executive Director of Schools for Sarasota Military Academy.
Bowman and her family have a personal connection to the organization. Bowman and her husband began giving to Toys for Tots as a young married couple and after his unexpected passing in 2006, Bowman continued to give and support the organization in his memory.
“My husband was the first in his family to graduate from a University. He came from a life without toys under the tree each year. It was so important to him to give back to those less fortunate. He inspired me then, and I believe that he continues to inspire through this program. Every year, I share our story with the staff and cadets at SMA, to help them understand why it is so important to give back. How it impacts the people in need, and how it impacts them as they give,” said Bowman.
In addition to the donation drive, SMA cadets volunteer to give time and ring the Salvation Army bell throughout the community during the holiday season. Every year, there are no shortages of volunteers or holiday cheer. To learn more about Sarasota Military Academy, or any of the holiday programs and volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.
About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) School with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.