Toy Drive Charity Spotlight

Toy Drive Charity Spotlight: Sociedad Latina

Dec. 5, 2011 at 1:07 PM ET

Sociedad Latina /

The items collected during TODAY Show's Toy Drive are often given to families who cannot afford to buy presents, so that the children can open a gift that's given to them by a loved one, not a charity. These items reach millions of kids in all 50 states.

You can be part of making this year's toy drive the most successful ever by donating online at

Each week, we will spotlight a specific charity that has benefited in the past from your generous donations in person and online. This week, we are showcasing Sociedad Latina in Roxbury, MA. Here's a little more information about them, the amazing work they do and some photos of the kids who are helped by this organization and you:

Since 1968, Sociedad Latina has worked in partnership with Latino youth and families in Roxbury, Massachusetts and the surrounding communities to end destructive cycles of poverty, health inequities, and lack of educational and professional opportunities in our community.

Sociedad Latina /

Through our Pathways to Success model we pioneer new and innovative solutions to the most pressing issues facing Latino youth today with a focus on celebrating our Latino heritage and empowering youth to construct identities that are firmly rooted in their Latino culture. Our model supports positive youth development from age 10-21, creates a community that values young people, and trains all youth to advocate for themselves and their communities.

Each year, Sociedad Latina serves 3,000 youth and adults. Three hundred of those youth age 10-21 engage intensively with Sociedad Latina through our comprehensive array of daily programming designed to build skills in four areas, identified by our constituents as those most in need of support: Education, Workforce Development, Civic Engagement, and Arts & Culture. Programs promote long term engagement, positive relationships with adults, and cultural pride, providing youth at-risk with a vast network of support that enables them to grow into confident, competent, successful and self-sustaining adults.

Sociedad Latina provides the following programs to our community. All integrate education, workforce development, civic engagement and arts and cultural activities to ensure youth exit our programs with broad skill sets and diverse interests:

           Mission Enrichment Program: Middle school academic and enrichment program

           Mission Possible!: Pathways to higher education and employment

           Saturday ELL Academy: Saturday academic and enrichment program for English Language Learners

           Acceleration Academy: Targeted academic support and 21st century skill building for youth in need of extra support

           Youth Community Organizing: Youth-led community organizing around issues affecting Roxbury and Latino communities

           Health Educators in Action: Education and community organizing around health inequities

           Health Careers for Youth: Healthcare internships in the Longwood Medical Area

           Music Clubhouse: Music and cultural programming for community youth and families

Sociedad Latina /

           Viva La Cultura!: Girls mentoring program

           Latino Mental Health Services: Case management, family engagement, and mental health education for youth and families

TODAY Toy Drive donations are distributed to children and families in our community in celebration of Three Kings Day, a traditional Latino holiday on Jan. 6. The children and families who receive gifts are all low-income and join us for this celebration of Latino culture that strengthens our community year after year. Thanks to toy donations from the TODAY Show, Sociedad Latina is able to continue offering this important event to our community despite challenging economic times.