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Collecting cars

HOT WHEELS: WarriorTech, North Miami Junior/Senior High School’s robotics club, holds up some of the 377 Hot Wheels cars they collected to give to young patients at Dukes Memorial Hospital.(Back row left to right): Tyler Stites, Alexander Wilcox, Landyn Wagner, Tommy Lane, Kirby Lane(Front row left to right): Aslan Emberton, Yejin Lee, Griffin Shanley and Kaylee Lane

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@chronicle-tribune.com

When the North Miami Junior/Senior High School robotics team, WarriorTech, recently held a robotics tournament at the high school this year, coach and teacher Tara Lane said they wanted to bring a community outreach aspect to the event as well.

She said they spoke to the Duke’s Hospital Auxiliary to see what the hospital might need, which led to a collection of toys for young patients.

Everille Draving, director of volunteers at the hospital, said when they got the call, they told the team about their toy distribution.

“We give toys to kids that come in if they’re upset about getting a shot or if they have surgery, we have some stuffed animals or Hotwheels, different stuff we give them or we pass them out for different departments to give them,” Draving said. “And these kids decided to go with us and help and they collected 377 Hot Wheels.”

Draving said sometimes if the child is going into surgery, they’ll ask if they can take the toy with them, whether it’s a stuffed animal or a car, which she said makes them feel more at ease.

The robotics club was able to collect this number of Hot Wheels through those who attended and participated in the tournament. Since there was a lot of community help that went into the tournament, Lane said they wanted to help the community in return.

Draving said the hospital auxiliary is essentially a non profit so the donation was a big help. She said they usually have a few fundraisers through the year, but 377 cars could be somewhere around $400, so the fact that the students were considerate enough to check in on how they could help was something special.

Lane said the team was really excited to collect the cars and were thrilled at the outcome. She said they enjoyed thinking about all of the children who would benefit from the outreach.

“I know that we live in a very close-knit, helpful community and when someone is in need they really pull together,” Lane said. “so any time we offer something like this as helping others in our community ... it’s not surprising, but I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support that we have from our community.”

Up next for the team is attending the world championship in Detroit on April 24-27. Lane said they are ranked second place in the world right now, so the team is excited to participate.