Small Things Matter

For Idanna Smith, being able to donate vans full of toys is “enormously personal” as an educator, mother, and business owner. The Good Toy Group is a marketing company representing small business owners of specialty toy stores across the country, and in its work, receives toys to evaluate and test. As they clear out for the new year of toys each fall, Idanna and her team sort and pack up the toys – games, baby toys, arts and crafts, science activities, outdoor toys, tricycles, wooden kitchens – label them by age, and deliver boxes upon boxes to Child & Family.

Dedication to kids in her community and providing good quality toys is, “very satisfying,” says Smith, “I know that everything we send over is going to be special to somebody.” The toys are used in the Sandpipers Early Learning Center, they’re given out at during the holidays, and a few are used to raise funds in Child & Family silent auctions.

Idanna notes that toy stores are an integral part of their communities and advance the idea that how children are educated and supported influences how their lives unfold. Her family moved to Rhode Island in 1978 when her children, Heather and Ryan, were in grade school. With an educator’s eye and a mother’s heart, she connected to Child & Family’s mission from the moment she was approached.

In 2008, Kay Worden, a former board member and champion of Child & Family, moved in down the street from the Smiths. Her passion was visible and she knew where those toys were needed as soon as the two became friends. Remembering Kay, who passed this spring, Idanna says, “Small things matter, and sometimes it’s a word you say or a person you meet that opens a door that you didn’t see before. For me, that was Kay. She was such an adamant advocate for Child & Family.”