SPRING HILL — Some of the students were a bit messy, but all of them finished the job that Iana Escober-Nario had asked them to do.
Escober-Nario, 17, is a Springstead High School International Baccalaureate junior who offered fellow IB students a way to log creativity, action and service hours by painting toys.
"We need a total of 150 CAS hours altogether (to complete the IB program)," Escober-Nario said.
As she considered how she would earn hers, she was talking to her mother who mentioned James Moysey, a volunteer with a nonprofit organization, the ToyMakers (thetoymakers.org).
"He carves toys for the ToyMakers association," Escober-Nario said.
The toys are then painted and given to young medical patients.
Escober-Nario is helping with the painting.
"We're looking at 520 toys," she said.
Escober-Nario asked fellow IB students to help her with the painting, and about 30 joined in for the first session, during which about 250 toys got their first coats.
They painted wooden Flintstones cars, sailboats, whales, dogs, crocodiles and pigs. Escober-Nario said the crocodiles are the cutest, "but I still like the pigs better." There are also buses and dogs.
At the most recent painting session, pizza included, some of the volunteers shared why they were helping.
"It would benefit me for CAS, plus it will help kids," said junior Ngoc Tran, 17. "This helps us to get more hours."
Junior Josh Crane, 17, said, "Just to get more involved with the community and get more CAS hours, and painting is a fun activity, (providing) down time from school work."
Junior T.J. Jarrell, 16, is another volunteer.
"It seems like a good cause," he said. "Everyone likes toys, and I don't want it to be boring, so I do random colors to be more creative, especially orange."
For Escober-Nario, her IB project for CAS hours needed to be something for the community. She liked the idea of painting toys for hospitalized children.
"They surprise the kids by putting the toys under their pillows when they arrive," she said.
She also said colleges look for students who are well-rounded and are involved in their communities. Escober-Nario would like to go to the University of Florida, but said, "Of course I will be applying to Ivy League schools."
She has a 4.2 grade point average and has not decided on a college major.
"I love science," she said. "That's all I know."