Buddy bears help kids connect with community

A local daycare is teaming up on the island to bring calm to the storm kids may find themselves in during traumatic situations

Kids from the Apples to Zebras daycare pose with their teddy bears.
Apples to Zebras daycare collected teddy bears of all kinds along with emoji’s, bunnies, ducks and unicorns. The kids say they are happy to be helping other children. Jasmine Burt/Kicker

Jasmine Burt

Apples to Zebras, and Leaps and Bounds daycare owner, Jennifer Quilty, saw the call for teddy bears on a Facebook page during January’s massive blizzard that crippled St. John’s and the Avalon.

Quilty saw calls for stuffed animals to be turned into buddy bears. The buddy bears, in turn, would be handed to first responders such as police officers or firefighters, or any place where a child may find themselves in high-stress situation.

It was, she says, a teaching opportunity for her children at the daycare. The kids were more than happy, she says, to help out children they didn’t even know.

“I’ve always thought that helping families is the biggest thing, ” Quilty said. “It’s a good chance for children to know that their buddy bears will be loved by other kids.”

So far, the children have gathered up 100 stuffed animals including a colourful arrangement of unicorns, ducks and bunnies to donate.

Quilty hopes this will be a yearly thing where even schools and other establishments get involved.

“We use any method at all to bring comfort and allow us to build relationships with people, especially children.”

“It’s a great way to teach children about community.”

Const. James Cadigan, RNC media relations, says they had hundreds of these buddy bears in the past, but the supply has dwindled.

A constable at the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in St. John’s was doing a similar project before she left on maternity leave.

“(Buddy bears) would be provided to front-line members to have in their cars with them to give to children who we felt maybe needed a toy to have a better day,” Cadigan said.

Cadigan says this is something the constabulary would love to continue to do and would love partners in the project.

“We use any method at all to bring comfort and allow us to build relationships with people, especially children.”







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