October 22, 2015 — Second- and third-graders from Kensington Road School spent recent weeks giving love to more than 100 teddy bears that will eventually be given to someone who needs a Bear Hug.
"Bear Hugs are teddy bears, dressed in homemade sweaters and hats, and filled up with love by people who care,” explains the organization Bridging People and Places. The not-for-profit’s projects send messages of love to people experiencing illness, loss, or personal crisis.
“The bears are a symbol of comfort and love to those who receive them,” notes the group, which serves children with serious and life-threatening illness, bereavement programs, abused and neglected children, shelters for domestic violence, and Community Hospice, just to name a few.
Third-grade teachers Rebecca Ring and Pam Laurent have led the effort at Kensington for three years, which includes classroom project work, and dressing the bears in donated knitted sweaters provided by other volunteers.
“The third graders read to the bears and show them love until the program time ends in the classroom,” says Mrs. Laurent. When a recipient receives a bear, it is accompanied with a message that reads: We all need hugs, just to get along. Some hugs are weak, these hugs are strong. I'm filled up with love, from people who care, so if you need a hug, I'll always be there. When you look in my eyes, you can see who you are, you're special and priceless, a shining bright star.
“When the third graders chose the outfits and dressed their bears on Wednesday with such care, you could see in their eyes how important they knew this adventure would be,” said Mrs. Laurent. “Although the children will be sad to see them go, Mrs. Ring and I hope to instill volunteerism and community values in this lesson of love.”
Bridging People and Places is a 501©3 not-for-profit corporation that brings people of all ages together to make a difference in the lives of others. The group’s website is www.bridgingpeople.org