ODU students spread holiday cheer with special toys

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Students at Old Dominion University are using technology to make the holidays a little bit brighter for children in the area.

These toys are not your everyday toys. They were imagined, designed and created by students.

“To just learn that process of going from creative idea to actual prototype to actual mass production,” said ODU student Dwight Carr. “We had to make sure that they’re all kid approved.”

The new owners of these toys area special group.

“When we inserted the element of giving those toys to kids in the hospital, to refugees, this motivated them even more and more,” said ODU Lecturer Basim Matrood.

On Wednesday, ODU students packed up the toys and sent them off with Navy volunteers.

“We knew that we were going to do something that was more than just impacting our grade, it was impacting people that we don’t even know, but are really going to benefit from the toy,” Carr said. 

60 toys found homes at the Henrico Health Department Refugee Clinic in Richmond. Another 60 toys found their new owners in the cancer unit and blood disorder center at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.

“For even a second that it takes their minds off of what was going on and they can just play with it, assemble it,” said ODU student Ed McLarney, who has a personal connection to this project.  “I myself am a CHKD patient so trying to just give back to the community that I come from.”

Make no mistake, these are not basic toys.

“They’re intended to increase the spacial ability for those students,” said ODU Professor Dr. Petros Katsioloudis. “They’re not designed just to spend time, but also to benefit learning for those individuals.”

While this is part of an ODU class, the students say giving toys to kids who need them is more rewarding than any passing grade.

“It’s just human nature to help other people,” Carr said. 

This is the third year ODU has created toys. Katsioloudis says his goal is to reach at least 10 hospitals in the next few years. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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