Aidan Pearson wanted to do something different for his fourth birthday. Instead of asking for gifts from his friends, he asked them to bring unwrapped books that he could donate to patients at All Children’s Hospital, in St. Petersburg.
The next year, he decided to step things up by organizing a toy drive at NewGate School, where he’s a student. He pitched the idea to the headmaster, who, Aidan says, loved it. The toy drive was a success.
Aidan says his generosity was inspired by his own experience in the hospital when he was younger.
“When I was 2, I had to get tubes put in my ears,” says Aidan. “Seeing the sick kids in the hospital made me feel bad, especially since it was right around Christmas. So, I thought it would be a good idea to give toys to those kids. It made me feel good, and I knew it would make them feel good when they got them.”
Now 10 years old, Aidan has continued his annual toy drive, during which his classmates bring toys in to the donation boxes set up around school. The collection begins in late November, and when it’s over, Aidan and his family make a trip to St. Petersburg to donate the collected toys to the children.
Both his parents and NewGate staff members are impressed with Aidan’s generosity — especially at such a young age.
“He’s been really into this for such a long time,” says Robin Howe, who has been Aidan’s teacher for several years. “You can tell it’s really something he wants to do, and it’s not his parents pushing him to do it.”
Aidan hopes to one day become a professional baseball player, but, for now, he’s happy helping out children less fortunate than him.
“I want to make sure the kids have presents over Christmas break,” he says. “It’s important to me to do this.”
HOW TO HELP
Anyone interested in donating to Aidan Pearson’s toy drive can bring an unwrapped gift to the NewGate office, located at 5237Ashton Road.