By Cynthia Price,
Director of Communications
ChildFund International opened its exhibit of toys “The Power to Play – from Trash to Treasure” at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles on Sunday. ChildFund President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard and former sponsored child Shauntay Hinton spoke at the standing-room only event.
Children learned first hand how to make hand made toys using some of the same materials that children in ChildFund programs use to make toys.
Shauntay, a former Miss USA and now a host on the Fine Living Channel, spoke about how ChildFund allowed her to gain confidence. Anne spoke about the resiliency of children.
The exhibit runs through Dec. 31. If you live in the L.A. area or will be visiting the area before the end of the year, please stop by the Museum of Tolerance to visit “The Power to Play.”
Shauntay Hinton, who was crowned Miss USA in 2002 and has appeared on TV shows such as “Heroes” and “Criminal Minds,” is a formerly sponsored child through ChildFund International. She was enrolled in the Brickfire Project in Mississippi and attended Brickfire’s after-school program until she completed high school.
Today Shauntay shares her childhood memories with us:
This week I attended a Labor Day barbecue hosted by my management company at a really elegant residence in Pacific Palisades, Calif., a community on the west side of Los Angeles. I looked around at the setting and the other “celebrities” there and felt like I was a really long way from Starkville, Miss.
In fact, when one of the other guests happened to ask me where I grew up, and I told her Mississippi, she responded “Wow! Really? How awful was that?” To which I replied “Not at all. I must have gotten lucky!”
I explained that growing up in Starkville, we had a strong sense of community. For example, when I was very little, I attended a day care center called Project Brickfire. Project Brickfire was a conduit organization for ChildFund International and operated as part day care center/part community center with programs to promote the educational and social development of children.
I went on to give her an earful about how before I even knew who Oprah Winfrey was, when I was about 5 years old, I was cast in a play at Project Brickfire as the host of a talk show who interviewed historical figures including Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr. George Washington Carver regarding their contributions to American History. And boy oh boy, did they create a monster!
I made my mind up to never know a life without being on stage in some capacity. So to make a long story short, I think I got my point across to that other guest – if I hadn’t grown up in small-town Mississippi as a ChildFund sponsored child, I might not have been standing there talking to her at some fancy shindig in lovely Pacific Palisades that afternoon.
With programs emphasizing the arts and creative expression like plays, field trips and guest speakers, even providing a pen pal from across the world, ChildFund International helped me develop self confidence in front of an audience early on. Without question, my start as a sponsored child was essential to shaping my path toward a career in broadcasting because of the encouragement, instruction and support I received from the staff of Project Brickfire.
To read more about Shauntay’s experience with ChildFund International, click here. For more on “The Power to Play,” visit www.ChildFund.org/toys. Are you a formerly sponsored children through ChildFund? If so, and you would like to tell your story, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your information.
By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist
From Richmond to Boston to Washington, D.C., our traveling toy exhibit – “The Power to Play – from Trash to Treasure” – has been seen by thousands of people on the East Coast. Now it’s time to move west.
Beginning Sunday, Sept. 13, West Coast residents and visitors to Los Angeles will get to see our display of hand-crafted toys at the Museum of Tolerance. The exhibit will remain there through the end of the year.
The toys were made by children around the world in the countries in which ChildFund International works. Toys range from soccer balls made out of rubber bands and trash bags to dolls made out of banana bark to boats made out of old flip-flops.
ChildFund International President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard and MOT Director
Liebe Geft will launch the toy exhibit with a ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 13. They will be joined by Shauntay Hinton, former Miss USA and ChildFund International sponsored child, who will share her inspiring journey.
“We are sharing this toy collection as a visible demonstration of how the power to play helps children thrive and become leaders of enduring change in their communities and the world,” Anne says.
On opening day, the museum will hold workshops for children to create toys made from recycled materials donated by a local “green” toy company.
So if you’ll be in the area that day or anytime through Dec. 31, check out the Museum of Tolerance at 9786 W. Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles.
What to know more about the toys?
* Our latest news release
* “The Power to Play” Opens in Washington, D.C.
* Toys Head to the National Press Club
* Toys, Toys and More Toys!
* RANDOM ACTS (Washington Times)
* Helen Thomas attends ChildFund toy exhibit (UPI)