Build-a-Bear project to cheer up sick children at Memorial

Feb. 4, 2013

April Wefler
[email protected]

While you’re buying chocolates and roses for Valentine’s Day, consider making a bear for a child in the hospital.

Beth-El Student Nurse Association (BSNA) is hosting a Build-a-Bear event on Feb. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chapel Hills Mall.

Students and staff can create a personalized stuffed animal, which will then be donated to Memorial Children’s Hospital. Children will be greeted with the present when they’re admitted to the hospital.

Amy Digan, community service representative for Beth-El, said she does a community service event every month, but this one she wanted to be more individualized.

“It’s a bummer to be in the hospital, and it’s just something special to cheer them up,” she said.

“This is the first time we’ve done anything this large. It’s a fun, unique community service project,” she added. “You’re helping out children that might not have the opportunity to ever make a bear.”

Digan said that when she was younger, she thought it was a lot of fun to be able to build a bear. “Kids in the hospital can’t do that, but they’re able to have the bears as a special gift we made them. I think it will be more rewarding than keeping it for myself,” she said.

“I still have one from when I was little. It’s almost a security blanket, and when you’re in a new environment, especially in a hospital, it’s a comforting measure to make kids feel more at home.”

In addition to the bears, Digan said participants will be writing messages to the children on the back of the certificates that come with the bears. She said, however, that the messages will remain anonymous.

Digan said the goal is to make 100 bears through BSNA as well as other organizations and donations. There will be a table by Jazzman’s this week and tables in the University Hall cafeteria area where anyone can donate.

The average cost for the bears will be $10, and accessorizing the bears will cost an additional $3 to $15, depending on how much participants wish to spend.

Digan said due to patient safety, specified health care workers will hand out the bears, but anyone is welcome to help take them to the hospital.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s a really fun opportunity to give back to the community and it’s really different from other community service.”

Those with questions or concerns, or who knows of another organization that would like to participate in the event, can contact Digan at [email protected].