Category Archives: Community Engagement

Toy Like Me Dates & Delivery

Need some service hours?

Want to get involved with a worthwhile (and fun) program?

Roanoke College’s Psychology Department will be delivering modified toys February 20th-26th made to look like the children they will be going to as part of the Toy Like Me program.

There is a sign-up sheet in the hallway for specific times deliverers are needed. Primary and back-up deliverers are needed, so feel free to sign up for more than one slot if you can!

Furthermore, Construction Day will be on March 15th from 5 pm-8 pm in Patterson if you would like to get experience modifying toys (and service hours).

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Toy Like Me ’17

A Student at Oak Grove Receiving Her Toy. Original Source: Roanoke College News

Last December, Christmas was made particularly special for a class at Oak Grove Elementary School in Roanoke, Virginia.

As reported by the local WDBJ7 news station, Roanoke College students and biology professor, Dr. Frances Bosch, delivered toys they had altered to Mrs. Gruber’s special education classroom.

For children with disabilities, finding toys that look like them can be difficult and they can sometimes feel left out as a result.

As Dr. Bosch points out,

[… because only] twenty percent of the population have a disability of some sort, it is unlikely that major manufacturers would make toys to truly give every child a toy like them.

Yet, for students of this classroom, and for many other children as a result of the Toy Like Me project in Roanoke and the UK, finding toys that represent them has been made a little easier.

The Toy Like Me project at Roanoke College began when Dr. Bosch was researching for her 2015 May Term class, and she read about the Toy Like Me program started by Rebecca Atkinson in the UK.

Atkinson recognized the need for more diversified toys and started the program in order to lobby major toy manufacturers into producing toys more diverse toys.

The following year, while planning for her 2016 May Term class, Dr. Bosch decided not to wait for toy manufacturers to start diversifying their products.

I contacted Rebecca and asked if we could modify toys and give them away in the name of Toy Like Me. 

Atkinson approved.

So, the May 2016 class modified $300 worth of toys, and we gave most of them to Carilion Clinic’s Children’s Hospital in Roanoke.

Dr. Bosch helps a student during her May Term class. Source: Facebook

This was not the end, however, as this project would spark continued projects in the name of Toy Like Me at Roanoke College. As Dr. Bosch describes,

Last school year, we did a Santa Claus Toy drive, and gave away $1600 worth of toys. [We] then gave toys away for Valentine’s [Day], and again in April.

My May 2017 class modified $700 worth of toys for the Pediatric Oncology ward at UVA through RC alumna Karra (Slaughter) Lee, who is a PA in that ward.

This year’s Santa Claus toy drive saw toys go to children in several schools in Roanoke City and County.

Including Oak Grove Elementary.

Last semester, we partnered with  Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand’s Developmental Psychology classes. They modified toys with us, then participated in the delivery of toys to Oak Grove Elementary.

According to Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand, her students worked with Professor Bosch, the “heart and soul of the program” in order modify the toys based on each individual student.

If someone is in a wheelchair, a doll can be modified to include a wheelchair; if a child has a feeding tube, a tube can be inserted in toys; if a child wears glasses or has crutches, they add those […]

RC Students and Dr. FVN introducing themselves at Oak Grove. Not Mine: Roanoke College News, David Matheny

For Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand, the Toy Like Me program was “a memorable experience” as she “loved seeing the kids get so surprised and excited over the toys, and it was a great opportunity for my students as well.”

Dr. Bosch notes plans to partner with Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand’s class again this semester, as well as with Psi Chi, the Honors Society for psychology.

School Outreach Program

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Last December, Roanoke College’s psychology department hosted a school outreach program. Students were able to learn more about psychology through group sessions with individual professors and were able to see first-hand how optical illusions work through an experiment. Following this, students were also able to enjoy a lunch with both psychology professors and current psychology majors at Roanoke.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the program. It looks like it was a lot of fun!

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Crumley Lecture: Rosalind Picard


Go to the website provided below to reserve your ticket!


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Free the Girls!



Free the Girls is a nonprofit that collects new or gently used bras to help women build up an inventory for a micro-business. It is really simple way to help support women in developing countries by enabling them to establish a sustainable economy.

If you have any questions, you can contact Prof. Brogan at and you can drop off bras in Prof. Brogan’s office in Trout 205!