Helping children to have a happier holiday season, the University of Central Missouri’s Student Organization of Construction Managers (SOCM) recently conducted a toy drive that will benefit inner-city children.

Earlier this fall, SOCM President Dimitrije Radinovic, a senior from Lee’s Summit seeking a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, reached out to Operation Breakthrough in Kansas City and inquired about what the UCM group could do for them to provide a service opportunity for university students. His request led SOCM to sponsor the toy drive.

Radinovic and other group members launched the drive Nov. 1, and collected toys through the entire month. They were delivered to Operation Breakthrough on Dec. 1.

Operation Breakthrough is an organization that has a mission to provide a safe, loving and educational environment for children in poverty and to empower their families through advocacy, emergency aid and education.

According to its website, operationbreakthrough.org, the organization cares for more than 650 children, ages six weeks to 14 years old, each day, and about 80 percent of the families it serves live on less than $12,000 annually.

To make the holidays brighter for children, Radinovic said, “A collection tub was placed near the  entrance of the Stahl Construction Technology Building for drop offs from students, staff, and faculty.

Construction Advisory Board members and Construction Management alumni were contacted regarding the drive and offered to participate."

He noted that J.E. Dunn Construction provided funding for a large purchase of toys, along with donations of toys from McCownGordon Construction, Performance Contracting, and AL Huber General Contractor. Their gifts included a large array of construction toys, toy cars, dolls, games, Playdough and much more. The drive focused on serving toddlers through middle school children.

Asked what SOCM received in return for its efforts, Radinovic said members learned “that giving back is great.” Additionally, they discovered a lot of supportive partners through the companies that participated, which also led to important contacts that will be helpful for future endeavors.

SOCM is the main contact and coordinator of the affiliated student chapters of the Association of General Contractors of America and the Associated Builders and Contractors.

In the photo: University of Central Missouri students affiliated with the Student Organization of Construction Managers (SOCM) along with Construction Management program alumni display toys they collected and donated to children served by Operation Breakthrough in Kansas City. Beginning with Colin Bird, front, senior construction management major, are back row, left to right, Andrew Rotter, senior construction management major; Jason Schramm, UCM alumnus representing AL Huber General Contractor; Matt Osborn, UCM alumnus representing Performance Contracting; Dimitrije Radinovic, SOCM president and senior construction management major; and Emily Sherwood, UCM alumna representing McCownGordon Construction.