Toys for Orphans

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, Hayley Nitz organized and led a community service project called “Toys for Orphans.” Families met at Sunnyside Elementary in Olathe, KS to support Hayley with her Girl Scout Gold Award by using new and recycled items to create stimulating toys for orphans up to age five. Hayley asked KindCraft to support her in making this a great event.  KindCraft families got involved by donating items necessary for making the toys and by attending the Toys for Orphans workshop.  KindCraft kids loved the opportunity to make toys for others less fortunate!


Texture blocks made at the Toys for Orphans workshop.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. It symbolizes outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, community service, career planning and personal development. Today’s Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors working toward their Gold Awards use their vision for change to complete a project that is measurable and sustainable and that will make lasting differences in their communities, regions or beyond.


In choosing her project, Hayley considered numerous issues facing our world and decided to battle poverty through early childhood stimulation and education. Her goal was to raise awareness for children living in impoverished conditions and offer families a way to get involved. Through research, Hayley came up with six  different stimulating, upcycled toys kids could create and donate.  The Toys for Orphans workshop was a big success.   In all they made 48 seek-and-find bottles, 42 tug cans, 91 hair flowers, 105 lacing cards, 155 maracas, and 201 texture blocks.


A KindCrafter making a tug can.

Hayley and her mom Holly traveled to  Jinja, Uganda on December 28, 2016 to hand out the toys and spend a week volunteering at Amani Baby Cottage. They wrote about their experience below and gave us a glimpse at a day in the life of an Amani “Auntie” or volunteer.

A Day in the Life of an Amani Auntie (Volunteer)!

7:00 AM: Wake up! Let’s get the day started. Get dressed, put on bug spray, bush teeth and eat some breakfast (fresh eggs and fruit). We can already hear the kiddos downstairs. How long have they been awake?

8:30 AM: Time for work! After a quick pow wow with all the volunteers, we headed down to the kids. Hayley was in Cottage C and Holly was in Cottage A. The kids took turns bringing us books to read.

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The Quads: Basti, Jamila, Jazira & Rahuman rocking the hairbows we made

9:00 AM: Stations-Preschool, Quiet Room & Play Room! The older kiddos are divided into three groups for station rotation: the lions (5 year-olds), giraffes (4 year-olds) and zebras (3 year-olds). Hayley worked in the quiet room. She practiced alphabet flash cards, read books, colored and played with building toys. Holly worked in the preschool. She practiced number, color and shape flash cards, read books and played with educational toys. The kids also practiced their manners, alphabet, days of the week and months of the year in the preschool.

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Anna showing Hayley the texture block.


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Isiah practicing with a lacing card.

10:00 AM: Snack time and exercise! What would any day be without a mid-morning snack? We served the kiddos a mug full of hot porridge (very similar to Cream of Wheat or Malt-O Meal) and a special treat (a piece of fruit or baked item). Then we head to the playground for circle songs, games and stretches.


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Yum, porridge!

11:30 AM: Stations-Preschool, Quiet Room & Play Room! Back to our respective rooms for our final group.


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Ali looking for the blue butterfly in the seek and find bottle.

12:00 PM: Lunch! We escorted the kiddos to Cottage B and got them settled for lunch. After passing plates out and making sure the Mamas (Employees) didn’t need anything else from us, we headed to the nursery to feed the babies and get them ready for naps. Then we headed to the kitchen to pick up our lunch.

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2 of 3 triplets: Christopher and Nathaniel.

2:00 PM: Projects! While the kiddos rested, we were assigned various projects. We organized an employee store, cleaned toys and sorted donations.


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Richard and Isiah assisting Aunties Hayley, Julia and Jessica washing toys

3:00 PM:  Outings and playtime! We were given the opportunity to take individual children out of the orphanage on special trips. Since we weren’t in town very long, we opted for a walk around the block. If we decided not to leave the orphanage, we ran special playtime for the kiddos. We blew bubbles, played dress up, jumped on the trampoline, pushed kids on swings and set up water toys.

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Ali, Bethany and Sarah enjoying bubbles.

5:30 PM: Dinner! We got kiddos ready for dinner and escorted them back to Cottage B. Once the Mamas dismissed us, we went back upstairs to our rooms to make our own dinner, shower and crash!

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Sunset over Jinja

9:00 PM: Lights out! We were exhausted and could barely keep our eyes open. The kiddos were quiet since about 7PM. Time to get some sleep before starting again tomorrow.

Thanks Hayley for keeping us updated on your trip and sharing your experiences with us!  and thank you KindCraft for supporting this amazing leader in our community!

-Courtney Smith, President and Cofounder of KindCraft