October & November 2023 Projects
Bear Building with Claris Health and Hope in a Suitcase
Volunteers will design custom tees and create names and biographies for Teddy Bears with an at-home kit during the month of October. Volunteers will use these tees during our in-person November event where we will stuff 200 Teddy Bears, dress them in the custom tees and denim, and wrap them up to be gifted to children served by our two non-profit partners. These bears will be a much-needed comfort item to help children as they meet challenges such as trauma, transition, and healing.
What we'll do:
Learn about the value of creating comfort for children and how our partners are working to create comfort and stability for the children they serve.
October: Create cute, custom Teddy Bear tees at home!
November: Stuff and dress the bears, then gift wrap them with their bio inside the gift bag.
Keep learning and advocating for all children to receive support to help them thrive in healthy environments.
Want to do more? Use THIS WISHLIST to donate cute outfits to gift to children with their bear. We can package these adorable bear outfits with the bears.
Where the teddy bears are being donated:
This month our partners are Claris Health and Hope in a Suitcase. Check out their missions:
Claris Health’s mission is accessible family health services. Their parenting program features mentorships and educational workshops that are offered to help new parents thrive in their roles. Incentive programs encourage class participants to earn basic baby supplies, equipment, food and more. Court-mandated classes (using the Breakthrough Parenting curriculum) are available to any parent in need of this service. Claris Health focuses on helping strengthen families to help everyone in the family thrive.
The mission at Hope in a Suitcase is to provide children and teens in foster care with a suitcase/duffel bag, along with basic essentials and comfort items, to make their transition and circumstances just a little easier. They want children to enter a new foster family and/or school community with dignity, and without the lasting memory of arriving with a trash bag.
EDUCATION + ADVOCACY MATERIAL
In California specifically, foster care rates are equally as alarming with around 60,000 children moving in and out of foster homes annually – more than half of those children are in Southern California alone. The foster care system is one that has saved the lives of many children, however, it can be a difficult process nonetheless. As far as California goes, the foster care statistics are currently as follows:
California makes up for around 7% of the children in U.S. foster homes
33% of cases reported are for children below the age of 5 years old
Roughly 4,000 children age out of foster care in California every year
In California, children enter foster care for abuse and neglect 12% of the time and “other” 88% of the time.
Help bring a smile to a young child and join us to make a stuffed animal friend! But first, explore how Teddy Bears are one of the most popular comfort items. Discuss with your family the importance of a comfort item.
Start by listing all of the shows and movies about toys including Toy Story, Doc McStuffins, Paddington, and even Elmo! Why are these characters and shows so beloved and impactful? Because almost everyone has had a treasured stuffie or comfort item! We know what it is to treasure and love something and how it makes us feel soothed and safe.
Next, see some of the resources below to keep the conversation going and to imagine the impact these bears will have on the children receiving them!
Do you have any of these titles in your home library? It may be a good time to re-read these and talk about this project and why making a bear to be gifted as a special comfort item is so important.
If you don’t have any of these titles handy, here are a few read aloud videos you can view:
For Upper grades and adults:
WHY WE'RE HELPING CLARIS HEALTH AND HOPE IN A SUITCASE
Comfort items help children experiencing anxiety often associated with transition. Receiving a comfort item made by our volunteers with personalized clothing and biography shows care and creates a connection that cannot be replicated with a simple store-bought teddy bear donation. Creating a connection is as important as the comfort item.