The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Stuffed animals brings support to victims

By Dang Le/managing editor

The South Campus TRIO program collects donated stuffed animal to give as gifts to victims of abuse or trauma to help them cope with their treatment at local hospitals. Brook Baldwin/The Collegian

South math associate professor Robbie Sheffy donates 20 to 25 stuffed animals twice a semester to the TRIO student support services.

On the evening of Sept. 15, 1999, a shooting at Wedgewood Baptist Church killed seven and wounded seven. The gunman also ended his own life. At that time, more than 100 teens were inside the church for a rally. 

Across the street, Sheffy’s sister worked as a librarian in the Bruce Shulkey Elementary School. After the shooting, the first responders/adults at the church brought the children to the library. 

While Sheffy was not in the library at that time, she heard the story from her sister.

“My sister always decorated her library with stuffed animals that promoted a book,” Sheffy said.

The children sheltering in the library were given all the toys that were on display to help them calm down and give them comfort. 

Ever since, Sheffy felt inspired to contribute as she understands how important the toys can be for a child that suffers a trauma. 

Outside of donating stuffed animals to first responders and Cook Children’s hospital, Sheffy also contributes to other charities. She makes quilts for the neonatal unit of John Peter Smith hospital or donates to the TCC food pantry. 

But Sheffy feels like her contribution is just something normal. 

“You do what you can to help others,” she said. “It is just a part of being a good citizen.”

TRIO SSS program started in 1965 as part of The Higher Education Act to help first-generation, low-income or disabled students. South is the only TCC campus that has had the program for the past 23 years. 

Although the program has a donation drive each semester, instructional assistant John Trammell said he came up with the idea of collecting stuffed animals for traumatized and abuse victims in Alliance for Children’s and Cook Children’s programs a year and a half ago.

“It was a one-time deal, but Ms. Robbie comes through with donations,” he said. “That’s why we decided to keep this program going.”

Outside of collecting stuffed animals for shelters, hospitals and police departments, the TRIO community outreach services are also collecting toiletry items for a Presbyterian Night Shelter, according to academic adviser Zoi Tucker, who’s been with the TRIO program for 15 years.

The program is looking forward to continuing its donation program each semester as they collect toys all year round. 

Trammel said that although the donation is progressing, the current way that the program runs is by word-of-mouth. 

“Contributors can just drop it off, and we’re taking care of the rest,” Trammell said.

Instructional assistant John Trammell sets up stuffed animals donated by math associate professor Robbie Sheffy.
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