On Tuesday, October 2, students and community members gathered at IU Health Paoli Hospital to take part in the Teddy Bear Project, a project in its second year.
The goal of the project is to provide law enforcement and hospital workers with a care package including a teddy bear to give to children who are in traumatic situations.
“The teddy bears give [the children] something to hold on to, and the other items provide some distractions for them,” said Susan Umpleby, one of the project coordinators.
Pam Kile of IU Health Paoli Hospital worked with Umpleby on the project.
“Pam had indicated a need for teddy bears to give children who entered the hospital. I had previously worked with the Department of Child Services and knew they benefited as well from having some items to give children, so I contacted Pam,” said Umpleby.
In addition to teddy bears, the group collected coloring books, crayons, stickers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, books for all reading levels, small blankets, stuffed animals and other similar items.
“We agreed to work together and expand this project to gather items for not only the hospital, but also for all county law enforcement and the Department of Child Services,” said Umpley.
The items collected give the hospital staff and law enforcement an opportunity to connect with the children they encounter. These children may be dealing with a traumatic situation such as a car accident, house fire, or they or a parent may be injured and in the hospital.
“Both years, we have been able to assemble approximately 300 bags,” said Umpleby. “Any opportunity we can provide for positive interactions with the children in our community through our local law enforcement and hospital staff is a good thing,” said Umpleby.
Story by Angie Ceja