Austintown girl asks fellow students to donate toys



Lexi Cintron is just 13, but that did not stop her from asking her fellow students at Austintown Middle School to think about others, especially around the holiday season.

“I felt really good to be able to help the community and to give children a Christmas who never had it before,” the eighth-grader said.

Lexi wanted other students to get the warm and fuzzy feeling she got when giving a gift to someone else. More importantly, she wanted to make sure children received a gift this Christmas.

The teenager nearly reached the goal of 400 toys donated by students at Austintown Middle School for the “Lexi’s Holiday Helpers Toy Drive.” The final count of toys was 363 on Friday, the last day students could bring in toys.

“I definitely want to help the community in whatever I do,” Lexi said.

Lexi’s love for giving began when she was a young girl and her parents would let her pick out a Salvation Army angel to purchase a gift for a child in need. Then she asked her grandmother, who owns Spalon of Sara Morris in Howland, if she could have a toy drive at the spa. Then last year, Lexi was able to carry on her tradition with her seventh-grade classmates.

This year, Lexi encouraged the entire school with 55 homerooms to bring in and collect gifts. The homeroom with the highest amount of gifts will receive a pizza party as a prize.

All of the new, unwrapped toys will go to the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley. Lexi will deliver toys taken in at Spalon to the Warren Family Mission. Lexi wanted to make sure the toys went to local children in need.

“It doesn’t matter whether it is one toy or more,” Lexi said.

Lexi’s teacher, Jaclyn Elias, who teaches eighth-grade social studies at AMS, wanted to help her in her efforts since Lexi is a member of student council and her student. Student council is helping Lexi to fill Santa’s Sleigh with 400 or more toys.

“For the students it is important for them to realize how much they have,” Elias said. “I think it is important to remember that no matter how you think you have it, you can always help.”

Lexi’s friend Bailey Kingsley, 14, applauds the efforts.

“I think it is really nice that she is helping out the community,” Bailey said. “It’s very nice to know that I have a friend who is not conceited and cares about others.”

Lexi, already 6 feet 2 inches tall, has a big heart and is not afraid to show it.

“Next time [you] slide open your phone, [you] should think about the people in the community who do not have a light switch to turn on,” Lexi said.

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