Making Smiles Happen: (M*A*S*H)

This past week the LEAP Ambassadors were happy to help–and recruit more help–KSAM radio do their annual “Make A Smile Happen” holiday gift drive for the community.

This drive encourages the local community to provide food items, pet supplies, cash, or toys, and these, in turn, go to one of six non-profit agencies: Santa’s Helpers, Huntsville Independent School District, Good Shepherd Mission, SAAFE House, and the YMCA.

Although the tasks associated with assisting are not difficult, they are time consuming. The drive spans two days: 6am-6pm on Wed, Dec 1; and 6am-3pm, Thu, Dec 2. Because we attempted to have at least four students on hand at any time, that’s 84 man-hours of volunteerism–on the last day of school and “study day,” making it for a particularly busy time.

Our tasks were manifold: (1) hold signs marketing the event to the high-traffic area on 11th street;

(2) help donors load an unload donated items from their vehicles; (3) organize and count the items;

and (4) come up with creative marketing tools.

Along the way, the students had the wonderful opportunity to meet and learn from new people: Tim Johnson, the station’s General Manager;

…radio personalities such as Steve Rixx, Rob Hipp, Glenn Edwards, and Carlos Zimmerman; and several sponsors and other volunteers.

It was a great learning experience and, in fact, we were able to practice our radio interviewing skills!

The students also had a chance to learn more about each of the non-profits involved in the program, how radio programming works, and in general simply learn more about how communities work–including an opportunity to meet some community VIPs.

It was, as the results will show, a successful drive. KSAM/KHVL did a wonderful job getting the word out, landing almost 1,000 toys, more than 600 pounds of pet food, some 3,000 items of food, and almost $8,000 in donations. It was a great service to the community, and we were thrilled to be part of it.

The LEAP Ambassadors would like to thank Isabel Behm, Alex Dieck, Destiny Woods, Heather Barodi, Mario Ocampo, Saara Maknojia, Mckenna Webb, Landon LaPrairie, Rachel Hill, and Lucy McCool for their help. And, of course, we’d also like to thank the staff at KSAM for allowing us to serve!