By Barbara Ayash
Lauren’s father, a pediatrician, was too often, too busy, caring for sick children and neglected spending time with Lauren.
The school bus driver usually dropped Lauren off at his Medical office. She would do some or all of her school homework there while
waiting for him to finish with his last few patients.
While waiting for her father to finish with patient care, Lauren often talked with child patients waiting to be cared for. One day when she
arrived she saw a 3 year old boy crying much too hard, so Lauren asked him “Are you having a lot of pain?” The child said: “No!! I want
my toys, I don’t have my toys.” “They took my toys!” “ I want my toys!
So Lauren, being the kind person she is, seeing such a child in grief, reached into her school book pack and offered him a small stuffed
animal she always carried with her. The child stopped crying instantly, grinned from ear to ear and hugged the little stuffed squirrel she
had carried with her since she was a baby prior to kindergarten. It was truly her favorite good luck charm. The child took the little toy
squirrel, stopped crying instantly, and smiled from ear to ear.
When his office work was done Lauren and her father left his Medical office. She had forgotten to get the toy back. She thought about
asking her father to ask the child’s parent, next time the little boy was scheduled for an appointment, to return the toy squirrel.
But after giving more thought about how that little boy was so upset over losing his toy, Lauren decided it had helped a very unhappy
child feel better and possibly get well faster so giving that child the stuffed animal was really a very good deed.
After arriving at home Lauren helped her mother. She placed dinner china on the table, which she did every day.
After dinner was over she would be allowed to read her favorite comic book stories, of course her homework had to be done first.
It wasn't long before she was being reminded by her mother that she needed to get a good nights sleep so she could wake up, dress,
eat breakfast, and then catch the local neighborhood school bus on time.
Lauren felt lonely most of the time even when she was able to chat with school mates during school recess and lunch periods. Talking
with children that were sick in her father’s medical office after school helped to handle that, but it was not helping to get her school
homework done as fast as she would like. So, she began rushing her homework. Then she began making more errors than usual when
being tested at school.
Her mother reminded her to be more interested in homework than in patients needs, as he father did that, and less interest in comic
So Lauren started correcting things by studying more carefully after she arrived at her father’s office, then at home, ceased reading
comic books after school and instead read them on weekend days.
To be sure her school grades were better she worked hard at understanding her homework studies and of course her school grades
were much better.
One morning after Lauren arrived at school, the principal announced over all the Classroom loud speakers that students with excellent
grades could enter a National Student Contest and possibly win $5000.00 to help improve the school.
The Principal went on saying that the three Students chosen for the project could possibly win medals and a paid trip to Disneyland.
Lauren got very excited about that, and instantly decided to enter the contest. She always wanted to go to Disneyland but her parents felt
work was more important than a vacation trip to California from their home town in Texas.
Lauren Enters Contest
So, Lauren went to the principle’s office and requested a contest entry form She was given the Contest Rules and an enrollment form
parents must sign for each student entering the contest. The Principal told her it might not be easy, and study was still more important,
but she agreed and gave Lauren an entry form that required parent approval.
Lauren received the contest rules and read them over and over again. After doing so she asked her after he closed the office to sign the
enrollment form. He told her that her mother should do that.
So Lauren gained her mother’s approval and took the signed permission slip to the Principal at school.
On her way to school she started thinking kind of project to do. Then she remembered the little 3 year old boy that was crying so hard in
her father’s medical office; she asked him what was wrong and he answered, “My toy, I want my toy!!”.
One child, given a small Teddy Bear toy, she had in her book bag, had stopped the crying and created happiness instead.
Lauren realized this type of help was the type of help every sick child needed. She thought a similar project done at school might win the
Disneyland Trip award.
The next day she met with the principal at school and told her she wanted to create a toy drive for sick children. The principal liked this
and gave Lauren permission to use the classroom loud speaker to tell all the students in school what she wanted to do to help sick
Lauren promoted every day for three weeks using the loud speaker to encourage all the students in her school to bring new toys to
school to help her help sick children.
In a matter of three weeks the entire school was covered with new toys in the hall ways throughout the school. The principal asked Lauren
to cease promoting and move the toys off school grounds.
Lauren asked her mother to help with that and they moved all the toys into their garage at home. Then came the hard work of distributing
Lauren went to each of the major hospitals in her city and told them she wanted to help sick children get well faster. She talked each
hospital into donating one Hallway Closet space to store toys and to paint on the door in very nice lettering “Lauren’s Toy Closet.”
Each hospital agreed to do so, to allow each sick child being signed in for hospital medial care, to visit Lauren’s Toy Closet and to
choose one toy to keep with him or her while under medical care and then they could take the toy home.
Lauren agreed to keep the closets full of nice safe stuffed animal toys. She hoped to find others that would help her do that each time the
closet in each hospital was nearing empty.
The final result!
Lauren won the National Set A Good Example Contest for her school and a trip to Disneyland with her parents.
Her school received $5000.00 to help improve education. Lauren had her Toy closets in four local hospitals.
She also received a $5000.00 donation for Lauren’s Closet from Lands End Clothing Company along with a $5000.00 grant to be
placed in a savings account for Lauren’s College education.
Lauren shared the first $5000.00 from Land’s End with the four hospitals and one Ronald McDonald’s agency to help children with
When last spoken to, Lauren was asked what she plans to do in the future after she finishes college. Her answer: “ I want to become
President of the United States so health care can be made available for every sick child plus a toy, so they be happy
and get well faster!!
Well Lauren’s Toy Closets were just the beginning. Lauren later on in her teen years won more of the National Set A Good Example
Contest awards. She became an individual winner and an Olympic style Gold Medal three years in a row, one National, one state and
The mayor of her home town in Texas has proclaimed the city where Lauren lives to be a “Set A Good Example” City.
*** Story sent by Barbara Ayash
Founder of the Set A Good Example Student Contest.