While a stuffed toy bear may not seem like much to some people, that small gift may make a world of difference when received by a child in the midst of a tragic incident by a firefighter or first responder. In an effort to help show children the concept of “paying it forward,” Wee Work for Good partnered with the Steve Daru Boys & Girls Club members to donate 30 stuffed polar bears to the firefighters of the Mountain Vista Fire District.
“We’re here to give back to the firefighters that help so many people in our community,” Kristen Littell, president and co-founder of
Wee Work for Good, said. “We are also here because we are empowering children to be a part of that giving back opportunity.”
Wee Work for Good was started by mothers “searching for a way to instill a lifelong spirit of compassion in their children.” Since their modest beginnings, the organization now has international ties, and continues to spread its mission across the globe.
The opportunity for the kids to donate to the fire district provided an even greater lesson—it taught them the value of putting work into a project and for the children to see the full cycle of the donation process. From stuffing the bears and making special notes for each, to donating to the fire department—the kids took charge each step of the way.
In addition to meeting the firefighters and delivering the bears, the kids were given a tour of Mountain Vista Fire Station # 610 on West Magee Road, and had the opportunity to try on some of the fire crew’s gear and see some of the tools fire fighters use on-scene.
By the time the kids actually donated their bears, the entire fire house was filled with smiling faces, adults and children alike. Though the day was joyous, the situations in which the bears will be used may not elicit the same emotions.
Mountain Vista Fire Chief Cheryl Horvath explained how the firefighters use items like stuffed animals on the scene of an incident.
“I think for us,” she said, “it helps calm the situation down for a child that is involved in some type of incident; whether it is a family member or themselves, it just is one more tool that we can use to help people feel better about the situation that they are going through.”
Horvath said sometimes, firefighters can become frustrated to know they don’t always have the ability to make everything better during a difficult time, and that the bears are sometimes a solution to an often extremely complicated problem.
“I think the thing that was really cool, was that they are the ones who did the work,” she said. “They are the ones who put the bears together, and they are the ones who are really giving back to the community by making a contribution. And then, they come here and act like their work’s not done yet. They still want to do more for us, which is really cool. Honestly, I didn’t expect that. It was really nice to see that they understand the giving spirit, and that’s what this is all about.”
While the bears will sadly find use with the fire district, there was one positive outcome for the fire fighters—the plethora of hugs they each received when they met the kids.
“The bears were pretty cool,” said Horvath, “but the hugs were awesome.”