Empowerment Program At Work

The Childhood League Center in Columbus, Ohio put Bear Givers in their Summer/Fall 2011 newsletter's Donor Spotlight.

Bear Givers contributed 200 teddy bears, half of which children were able to choose to give to friends or relatives. “We wanted to empower the children as much as we could by allowing them to give and to feel how they could contribute to society, to the community, the school that served them, in their own way,” said Bear Givers President Diane Lempert. “Even though they may have some kind of disability, it doesn’t prevent them from being able to give to others.”

The bears provided a huggable opportunity to talk about giving and sharing. “They were super excited to get a bear and to find out they got to give one as well, that put them over the top,” said Kara Beckner-Evans, a teacher at the school.

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“I was proud to make someone happy. It made me feel good inside to help someone else.” -Taylor, Student, South Florida Jewish Academy
“Children from the school who give one of these bears away also get to keep one for themselves. It is a great way for students to feel good about making a difference in someone’s life.”
“Children can also be ‘benefactors.’ The program teaches children that when they do an act of kindness, they receive something in return. When children give away a teddy bear, they receive a teddy bear to take home. The principle seems quite simple, but the result is truly amazing. Children at SLCD identified charitable organizations in other states and countries. They wrote letters to the children in these other programs and sent teddy bears to ‘make other children feel better.’ Despite severe developmental disabilities, each child had something to say about giving a gift. ‘I sent my teddy bear to a little boy in Mexico. He doesn’t have parents. I have a mommy and a daddy. He must be very sad.’ Children’s insights are precious. Letters were then received from the children who received the teddy bears.”
-Long Island Press
“The feeling the children get when they take that physical bear and that card they created to someone else is very empowering.” -Joseph Sprung, Founder and CEO, Bear Givers
“This is a unique opportunity, where the clients who are often the recipients of goodwill, are now empowered to enhance the lives of others.” -Derek Saker, Director of Communications, OHEL