By Amanda Thomason  December 12, 2021 at 10:35am

Siblings Tyler and Monica Slaven started a Christmas tradition in 2015 that has become a major movement at their school.

It started when the brother and sister realized that kids who have to stay in the hospital during Christmas don’t often get to experience the level of Christmas joy that they would otherwise.

“Seeing a child who truly understands … the joy of Christmas is priceless,” Tyler told Fox News. “We wanted to help the kids still have that joy, for those who are in the hospital during Christmas.”

They turned to their online public school, the Ohio Virtual Academy, which has over 18,000 students across the state according to Fox.

Thanks to the reach of the school, the Slavens were able to reach students and staff across the state when making their toy drive request for the kids at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“The school does a tremendous job of helping us get the word out every year and reach new people, since we are a statewide school,” Tyler said.

Volunteers put out donation boxes in various towns as Christmas draws near, and as a result, the two siblings have been able to collect nearly 50,000 gifts for hospitalized children over the past six years.

Despite no longer being students, the school is still very supportive of their endeavors and proud of their alumni.

“OHVA will once again partner with the Slaven family for the 7th Annual Christmas Toy Drive to benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital!” they posted on Nov. 21.

“You & your family can join in spreading some holiday cheer to children that will be unable to spend the holidays at home with their families due to health issues that require them to be at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.”

Donations are being accepted until Dec. 10, as the toys will be delivered on Dec. 12, and they request that the gifts be non-violent. Everything from baby rattles to model kits are acceptable, as they are seeking gifts for patients from babies to teens.

The Slavens collected 11,500 toys last year during the pandemic and are hoping to collect around 11,500 toys this year — they’re certainly giving Santa a run for his money.

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she’s strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.

She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she’s had teal hair.

With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children’s books with her husband, Edward.


Austin, Texas

Languages Spoken

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

Topics of Expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking

The Western Journal is pleased to bring back comments to our articles! Due to threatened de-monetization by Big Tech, we had temporarily removed comments, but we have now implemented a solution to bring back the conversation that Big Tech doesn’t want you to have. If you have any problems using the new commenting platform, please contact customer support at [email protected]. Welcome back!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here