Alumna’s toy drive benefits local children

The toys are accumulating for Destyny Sparks’ toy drive. Photo courtesy Sparks

Florida A&M University graduate Destyny Sparks, who earned her degree in clinical mental health counseling, spends most of her leisure time volunteering.

Born and raised in Tallahassee, Sparks has always had a passion for helping people in need.

Sparks has volunteered at the local Hope House for Women and Children for more than years, serving Christmas Eve dinner.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, her time was cut short at the Hope, so she made it an obligation to give back to the community in another away.

Last year, Sparks came up with an idea to start a Christmas toy drive with high hopes to support and help single mothers who aren’t able to provide for their children due to certain circumstances. Her main goal is to help make a child’s Christmas special.

“I love kids so why not show my love by giving back to kids through a toy drive for Christmas,” Sparks said.

Sparks has always had a loving heart and being able to make others happy is what pushes her to want to keep her toy drive alive.

Sparks could remember vividly times where she would encounter individuals who have been through tough battles and who faced challenges, which broke her heart.

“Life is too short. You never know where you can end up. It is important to be thankful even for the small things in life,” Sparks said. “Have kindness in your heart and never judge anyone,” she added.

Haley Smith, a single mom, said she benefited tremendously last year from Sparks’ toy drive.

“Destyny helped me save Christmas for my daughter. We are so blessed to have people like her around. I can’t thank her enough,” Smith said.

Sparks believed that making positive changes in the world can save the lives of innocent young children, so she plans to continue to implement positive thinking in her everyday life.

Sparks gives thanks to her immediate family and friends for helping her toy drive be a success.

Nikki Sparks, Destyny’s mother, said that her daughter’s good deeds don’t go unnoticed and that she is honored to help play a role in making Christmas great for families.

“I am beyond proud of Destyny. She has grown up to be everything that I imagined her to be,” Nikki Sparks said. “She is doing such an amazing job and coming up with this idea means more to me than she’ll ever know.”

With this being Sparks second annual toy drive, she hopes to receive just as many donations as she did last year, if not more.

To join Sparks in donating toys, dolls, action figures, books, stuffed animals and arts and crafts to make this Christmas one to remember, all donations must be received by Dec. 19. For any questions or concerns email