Alyssa is Bringing Joy to Kids at the Holidays
By, Abbigayle Hunt, Contributing Writer
It all started with a stuffed fish toy. Thirteen-year-old Alyssa Svalina wanted her toy to bring joy to another kid. So she asked her friend, a volunteer firefighter, what she could do with it. He suggested she collect toys to give to the fire department to use to comfort children in crises situations. Hearing this helped Alyssa realize that there were other kids out there that were less fortunate than herself, and she wanted to do something to help them. At the heart of everything she does Alyssa wants the kids to know that they mean something and are loved.
Alyssa ran across the Wake County foster care stocking drive, and the desire to help was ignited again. In 2012, she collected 56 stockings, in 2013 she was able to collect 200, and in 2014 she collected 364, that’s almost enough to give one stocking each day of the year. But even with that monumental amount, Alyssa still had the sorrow of seeing youth go home from the annual Christmas party without a stocking. With a $100 grant from Start a Snowball, Alyssa hopes to increase the number of stockings available for next years Christmas party so that no one has to go without. When asked if she would continue to work on the stocking drive she said, “Why wouldn’t I? If I don’t there’s one child without.”
In addition to the work she has done on the stocking donation drive, Alyssa also donates at the Raleigh Rescue Mission, and to families in need around her community. No matter where children are in crisis, Alyssa wants to help. Along with her goal of donating more to the stocking drive in Wake County, she also has the dream of being able to open up her garage and run a free Christmas shop where children can come and shop for free to take home gifts so that no child has to go without during the Christmas season.