Huntington High School students have big hearts, especially when it comes to helping children and families in need. Dozens of art students created visually appealing items and turned around and donated them to the Tri-CYA/Family Service League’s Project TOY initiative and Huntington Hospital to brighten the rooms of patients.
Project TOY (Treasures Our Youth) gives parents of struggling families an opportunity to choose two new unwrapped gifts for their children. The annual holiday boutique at the Tri-CYA facility is a time of utter joy for parents, who are excited to be able to provide their children with toys that they otherwise couldn’t afford.
Huntington High School art teacher Kim Valerio.
The teenage Huntington artists worked for weeks to create the gorgeous pieces. “My Fashion I, II and III and Creative Crafts classes designed and sculpted snowman ornaments out of polymer clay/Sculpey,” said teacher Kim Valerio, who worked with the teenagers. “Approximately 110 snowman ornaments were created. Half of them were donated to Project TOY and the other half were donated to Huntington Hospital to be placed in patients’ rooms for the holidays.”
Ms. Valerio earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Parsons School of Design and a Master of Science degree in art education Long Island University-C.W. Post College. After completing her student teaching requirements in Huntington, she began working as a substitute teacher in the district.
Hired to work part-time in 2010, Ms. Valerio was elevated to full-time status in 2015. She has worked in all eight buildings in the district in some capacity and because of this she’s known many of her high school students since they were in elementary and middle school.
“Every year I ask my students to make something that we can donate to a charity during the holiday season,” Ms. Valerio said. “In previous years, we made clay ornaments, pillows, holiday stockings and more.” The teacher’s students have been making and donating items for the past eight years.
“This year’s snowmen were detailed very creatively, with unique looking hats, scarves and other accessories,” Ms. Valerio said. “I am proud of the enthusiasm and the care that my students put into the project.”