Key Club collects teddy bears for child victims
The Key Club collected about 25 teddy bears for the Claremont Police Department after holding an “adopt-a-teddy-bear” drive. The drive charged adopters $5 to $10 to adopt the bears, provided by the Kiwanis Club of Claremont, and then presented them to School Resource Office and Patrolman Glen St. Amant yesterday after school.
“We’ll keep them in the back of our squad cars,” St. Amant said. “We’ll give them out to children anytime we deal with a domestic call or even a car accident. Maybe it’ll help take their mind off what they’re going through.”
“They have a calming, soothing effect,” said Key Club faculty advisor Dan Decker.
Decker, a social studies teacher for 18 years and the Key Club’s advisor for 16, said the Key Club is about more than collecting bears — it’s about teaching leadership, friendship and giving back to the community.
The club took on a litany of charitable projects this year, from putting together Easter baskets to raising money for muscular dystrophy, Decker said.
“These kids do an awful lot,” Decker said. “They’re involved in everything.”
Just this school year, the club raised enough money to provide 300 pre-natal tetanus vaccines, gave 40 turkeys to the Claremont Soup Kitchen, sold 300 shamrocks and sent the proceeds to muscular dystrophy organizations, sent Easter baskets to the Sullivan County Nursing Home and finally, gave the 25 teddies to the police.
This is the third year the club has collected bears although the years were not consecutive, Decker said, adding that he hopes to hold a similar drive next year.
And Key Club members aren’t the only ones who think teddy bears have a calming effect.
The National Association of Police & Lay Charities, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit organization, runs the Teddy Bear Cops program, which seeks to provide as many bears as possible to local police and fire crews. The association claims that the bears can help calm children down after stressful or traumatic situations.
The bears themselves are decked out in Kiwanis and Key Club shirts. Although the adoptions threw a few people off who thought they’d be able to take the bears home after paying for them, they warmed up to the idea of letting them go to someone else when they learned what the bears were for, said Key Club President Danielle Ballard, 16, a sophomore at Stevens.
“They’d be like ‘Can we take them home?’ and we’d be like, ‘No,’ ” Ballard said.
The police were eager to receive the bears, and St. Amant said they’d like to share them with the Child Advocacy Center, which helps traumatized children. Decker said he wants to shrink-wrap the bears first to keep them in good shape until they’re ready to be handed out. After that they’ll cart the three boxes of eight bears each over to the cops.
But it’s all part of a day’s work for the Key Club, whose members say they’re there for the community.
“It’s just a great way to learn leadership, a great way to get involved with the community and a great way to make new friends,” Decker said.
Matt Camara can be reached at (603) 543- 3100, ext. 103, or by email at mcamara@eagletimes. com .