When I read news stories where kids are involved, such as a domestic dispute, I wonder how the kids are impacted. Recently I read about an organization that is trying to make a difference to kids in those situations. Bears on Patrol is an organization that helps police officers distract and comfort children in traumatic situations by providing free teddy bears for police departments.
Bears on Patrol is located in Carrollton, Georgia but they work with police departments across the country. According to Executive Director Blake Raab, “We currently work with 11 departments in 7 states, including two tribal police departments, but we are growing rapidly. We have shipped just over 300 bears to date, but currently have departments requesting bears.”
A recent blog post on the Bears on Patrol website gives a great illustration of the difference these bears make, “We were dispatched late at night for a domestic dispute and verbal argument over child custody. Turns out a husband and wife were on the front lawn screaming at each other about their children (who were left in the car in the driveway by themselves, crying) within earshot of mom and dad. Upon arrival, we separated them and sorted everything out. In between the chaos, I was able to get two bears that I had stashed in my patrol car to give to the 3 and 5 year old that were still crying in the car. As soon as they saw the bears, and I mean LITERALLY as soon as they saw the bears, they both smiled and put their hands out and immediately stopped crying and squirming in the back seat. It was actually almost comical how fast their emotions changed and their minds focused on something entirely different. While we snuck daddy around back in handcuffs to my car, the kids had a short discussion about who got the red one and who got the orange one and what their names would be. We were able to avoid having the kids see their dad in handcuffs, make them smile while their parents were freaking out, and got their minds completely off of the current situation. Absolutely invaluable…I am 100% certain it changed the outcome of their night.”
Bears on Patrol recently worked with another organization called Kids Are Heroes to hold an event at Boyd’s Bear Country. The event resulted in a donation of over 30 bears to the Philadelphia Police Department. Two of those bears were immediately given to children who were family members of a homicide victim.
There are many ways you can help this growing organization:
· Contact Bears on Patrol if you would like to approach your local police department about receiving bears.
· The organization will also work individually with people and groups to provide what they need to raise money or hold a drive to collect teddy bears.
· They also accept donations of stuffed animals, if they are new, or in very good condition. They should be 6-15 inches.
· Of course, you can also make a monetary donation on their website.