Academy of Art University Athletes to Volunteer at the San Francisco Children’s Toy & Book Festival at City Hall on Dec. 2, 2015

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Students want to help ensure no child goes without a toy this holiday season

Academy of Art University student athletes will lend fire fighters a hand today by distributing toys to 1,200 children at the San Francisco Children’s Toy & Book Festival at City Hall.

The annual event is held by Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library and San Francisco Firefighters’ Union Local 798. Toys for the festival are collected through donations to the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program, the oldest toy drive in the country run by off-duty firefighters and their families.

Between classes and games, student athletes also help the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program by collecting, sorting, packing and handing out toys to children year-round, including around holidays and during disasters, such as the recent wildfires in Butte and Lake Counties.

The partnership dates back to 2011 when the nonprofit toy program lost its home. That year university President Dr. Elisa Stephens offered dedicated warehouse space at the university’s Jerrold Avenue facility in the Bayview and encouraged student athletes to volunteer. The toy program has been operating from the same location ever since.

“Five years ago when we were told we had to vacate our space, Dr. Stephens stepped-up,” says Sally Casazza, chairperson for the toy program. “Donating the space means ensuring that we can continue to collect and distribute 200,000 toys to 40,000 low-income families in a safe and respectable environment.”

Academy of Art University Director of Athletics Colin Preston says the Toy Program is just one of several San Francisco organizations where student athletes volunteer. This time of year students recall memories of opening presents with their own families and put themselves in the shoes of children who might not otherwise receive any gifts over the holidays. “To be out in the community is something that’s at the forefront of our department,” says Preston.

About Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University is the largest accredited private art and design university in the nation. Founded in 1929, the school offers accredited AA, BA, BFA, BS, B.Arch*, MA, MFA, and M.Arch degree programs in 30 areas of study, as well as continuing art education, pre-college art experience programs, certificates and teacher grants. Classes are available in Acting, Advertising, Animation & Visual Effects, Architectural Design, Architecture, Art Education, Art History, Art Teaching Credential, Automotive Restoration, Costume Design, Fashion, Fashion Journalism, Fashion Styling, Fine Art, Game Development, Game Programming, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design (Transportation & Product Design), Interior Architecture & Design, Jewelry & Metal Arts, Landscape Architecture, Motion Pictures & Television, Multimedia Communications, Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media, Photography, Studio Production for Advertising & Design, Visual Development, Web Design & New Media, and Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media. Students can also enroll in flexible online degree programs in most areas of study.

Academy of Art University is an accredited member of WSCUC, NASAD, CIDA (BFA-IAD, MFA-IAD), NAAB (B.Arch*, M.Arch) and CTC (California Teacher Credential).
*B.Arch is currently in candidacy status.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-544-2787 (U.S. only) or 415-274-2200.

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Martin Haro

Erika Couric