May 26,2019  - We were delighted to partner once again with Kool Kids Passaic, a volunteer-run organization in New Jersey dedicated to supporting the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of local children, adolescents, and young adults with special needs.  A fundamental part of the Kool Kids mission is to promote the connection of participants and their families to their greater community. 

In this spirit, the Kool Kids teamed up with a group of local area seniors over Memorial Day Weekend for an afternoon devoted to fun, creative expression, and forging new friendships. The Kool Kids and seniors met and got to know each other as they shared an arts and crafts activity, smiles and lively conversation, where they discovered all kinds of things they have in common, including a love of teddy bears! As part of the Bear Givers Empowerment program, each Kool Kid received two bears, one to welcome into their own home and one to give to a new senior friend. Not all of the participants in this event were previously unknown to each other - two pairs of grandchildren and their grandparents were in our midst, adding to the extra special nature of this intergenerational meet up. 

We were also so honored to get to hear a most heartwarming story about one Bear Givers teddy bear in particular, shared with us by a mother of one of the Kool Kids participating in the day’s event. It turns out that her teenage son had received a Bear Givers teddy bear once before, during a hospital stay over ten years ago when he was a young child. “Mr. Bear” became an instant friend back then, remaining by the boy’s side at the hospital as a source of comfort and companionship, and ultimately accompanying him home. All these years later, “Mr. Bear” still lives with this young man and his family, where he continues to be considered a steadfast buddy and to be very much loved.