Local students participated in an annual holiday toy drive organized by Paramus Detective Lieutenant Jimmy Teehan, an instructor for a program about the dangers of drugs and violence.
“In addition to working with various departments to ensure that the toys will be delivered to those in need throughout the holidays, we’ll also be visiting a few families in Paramus on Christmas Eve to give them presents directly,” Teehan said. “Contributing toward an additional amount of happiness that they’ll experience during the holiday season is an indescribable feeling. Simply thinking about a child’s reaction to receiving a gift is enough to feel fulfilled, and the fact that the students want to be a part of the event makes it so much more special.”
Each year, Paramus students are part of the Law Enforcement Against Drugs & Violence (L.E.A.D.) program, and they participate in a holiday toy drive that the Paramus Police Department has been hosting for families in need since 1995.
Jimmy Teehan, Paramus detective lieutenant and an instructor for L.E.A.D., a nationwide nonprofit that works with communities to help students understand the dangers of drugs and violence, has led the 350 fifth grade L.E.A.D. students at East Brook and West Brook Middle School, instructed by Police Officer Lou Cardone, to see the importance of donating toys in this year’s drive from November 17 to December 14.
The entire Paramus public school system engages in collecting toys for the event. This year, officers at the Paramus Police Department will bring the gifts to a collection site at the Closter Fire Department. They’ll gather with almost every department in Bergen County to arrange for charitable organizations to pick up the toys.
“When we give them a vision of how the toys they donated will be presented to less fortunate families, it truly makes their days,” Teehan said. “Being a part of this experience allows the students to feel empathy for kids their age in need and understand that everyone is capable of bettering someone’s life. They’re able to make decisions that impact themselves and others in a positive way, which is what L.E.A.D. is all about.”
For more information on L.E.A.D., please visit leadrugs.org