Like mother, like son!
A Long Island mom and her son are hosting a giftback event for sick youngsters at a Queens children’s hospital on Dec. 21. Elmont-based mom, Natalie M. Joseph — co-founder of Caribbean jewelry company, Trinhaitia Bijoux — and her 12-year-old son Schneider, organized their inaugural “Toys for Tots,” for kids at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Bayside. Every year the family helps the needy for the holiday season, but with the encouragement of her son, this time around they are also extending that service to ill youth.
“This is our first year doing ‘Toys for Tots,’ because we usually do something like this for homeless families, but my son insisted that we do something special for the kids,” said Joseph.
After reaching out to several hospitals nearby, she chose St. Mary’s Hospital because it was the only facility that agreed to allow guests to visit some of the children, and personally gift them with donated toys. She said it was crucial for givers and receivers to interact with each other at charitable events as opposed to just dropping off gifts.
“It is the only hospital willing to let us see some of the kids, and that’s an experience we want to have,” she said.
The one-hour event will include a tour of the medical building and a meeting with select patients who are part of the hospital’s children’s council, according to Joseph. Accompanying the tour will be Schneider, a few of his peers, other guests, and celebrity guest, Azia Toussaint from the BET reality-television show, “The Hustle in Brooklyn.”
The young and budding Schneider has always been a generous and giving child who often looks out for his peers, and continues to exemplify a very caring and philanthropic attitude at his tender age, said Joseph.
“When he was in elementary school he really loved to read to kindergarten kids, and would always volunteer,” she said.
At an early age she and her husband often instilled positive reinforcements in the household, which in turn helped shape the charitable person he has grown to become. And she feels that it is a vital quality for people to practice to benefit people who are not as fortunate.
“I was raised to believe that in order to receive, you must give. I also have a reward program in my house that rewards if you do well, or deal with consequences if you don’t,” she said. “Some kids are very unfortunate, and we feel in order to receive more, you also have to do more.”
“Toys for Tots” at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children [29-01 216th St. between 28 and 31st roads in Bayside, (718) 281-8800, www.stmar