Dekker: Mooseheart kids enjoy fun-filled day in Tinley Park
By Julie Dekker Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org March 29, 2014 12:16AM
Michelle Maxia (center), director of the Toy Box Connection children's charity in Orland Park, having fun with the kids from Mooseheart Child City and School. | Julie Dekker/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 1, 2014 6:13AM
Treating the residents of Mooseheart Child City and School to a day of fun is more than an act of kindness to Michelle Maxia, founder of the Toy Box Connection children’s charity.
It’s about keeping her word.
A 14-year-old boy who resides at Child City told Maxia that he remembered what she told all the kids at their first outing given by the Toy Box Connection. He said she promised them that as long as there was a Toy Box Connection, she would make these events happen for them.
That was seven years ago and about the time that Orland Park-based Toy Box Connection opened its doors, determined to brighten the lives of underprivileged children by providing them with a toy, a book or a fun outing.
The day of fun for the Mooseheart children was among the first projects that Maxia put together.
Aurora-based Mooseheart Child City and School consists of 26 independent homes for orphaned or abandoned children ranging in age from 3 to 18 from all over the United States.
Affectionately known as the “Toy Lady” to the kids at Mooseheart, Maxia said keeping her promise to them is of the utmost importance to her.
“I want to make sure that they know there are people out there that do what they say they will,” she said. “I hope to set an example for them and let them know there are people who care.”
On March 21, 150 Mooseheart children were treated to food, gifts and fun at Centennial Bowl in Tinley Park.
Bryan Miller, Mooseheart’s head of recreation, told me that “just getting off of campus is a big deal, but getting all the kids out together at the same time is huge. Maxia is amazing for helping us in this way.”
Along with her faithful volunteers, Maxia wanted to thank all of the businesses that stepped up to help make it a great and memorable day for the kids.
Pizza was provided by Ed N Joe’s and Durbin’s, both in downtown Tinley Park, along with Giordano’s and Rosati’s, both in Orland Park. Volunteers from Costco, World’s Finest Chocolate and many area Kohl’s stores volunteers pitched in as well.
The Downtown Tinley Bunny Hop is back with an afternoon of Easter-themed fun from noon to 3 p.m. April 13.
The Easter bunny will be there, of course, meeting kids in the gazebo of the Vogt Visual Arts Center, 17420 S. 67th Court. You’ll want to bring your camera for photos.
There will be an Easter egg search and plenty of games, crafts and fun music by local DJ Heavy E, also known as the Electric Teddy Bear. Odyssey Fun World will be there with a special treat for children.
The Tinley Park Historical Society, 6727 W. 174th St., will be open for tours and feature a vintage dress and hat display. The society will also offer Easter crafts and vintage photos. Any child wearing an Easter bonnet or hat will receive a prize.
The American Legion Post 615 will also be holding a craft fair that day where you can find lots of local hand-crafted items as well as tasty treats.
This year’s Bunny Hop is sponsored by Ed N Joe’s Pizzeria and Restaurant. For more information, visit www.downtowntinley.com or call (708) 444-5678.