Why do
we do this?
Its pretty easy to see why this is such a worthy cause. One smile from a child in a very unhappy situation is all we need.
This is why...
From the Hyannis News
A Trooper surprises little girl with Teddy Bear after scary collision on Mid-Cape Highway.   The young family had just been involved in a dangerous collision and the trooper's gesture instantly brough a smile to the faces of the little girl, mom, and dad.
Orianna and Beary's Story
Monday Dance class was becoming routine for Orianna.  It was late in October, almost Halloween, and she was looking forward to the class next week.  It was going to be a special costume class and Orianna had the coolest Mermaid costume she couldn’t wait to show off.  On the way home from this particular lesson, Mommy had to stop at the grocery store and get a few items for dinner.  Orianna and her brother, Timmy were playing a little extra crazy through the aisles. 
“Mommy, didn’t the fire alarms go off the last time we were at this store?  Remember that?  We were stuck outside for so long.  Are they going to go off again?”  Orianna was remembering a time a month or so back when an alarm went off and the building was evacuated. Her brother, who gets very anxious in situations like that instantly clammed up.
“You don’t think that will happen again? Do you, mom?”
“No.  Stop worrying.  The chances of that are so slim.  You have nothing to worry about Timmy.”  Mommy was used to his nervous demeanor.
With all of the groceries in the cart, they made their way to the check-out line.  There was a bench, right outside of the glass doors, in a little vestibule area where the kids could sit while Mommy paid for the groceries.  She could see them quite well, and knew they were eyeballing those 25 cent machines with all the candy and junk.  She was secretly thankful that she didn’t have any coins on her to offer them to the kids.
Just as Mommy went to swipe her debit card in the machine, she heard a horrible snapping sound and the most blood curdling scream that sent fear straight to her heart.  The debit card went flying across the checkout stand and Mommy turned to see Timmy’s ashen face looking up at her.
“Mom, Orianna fell off the bench.  Come quick, I think she is hurt bad.”  Mommy barely heard Timmy because she was already a step away from Orianna who lay whimpering on the floor, clutching a bulging elbow.
Mommy took a deep breath, kneeled down by her daughter and asked her to move her hand away from her arm as she braced it as best she could from where she was.  Broken.  There was no doubt in Mommy’s mind that Orianna’s arm was broken very badly.  She looked up at the manager staring blankly down at her and very sternly said “Call 911.”
Now at this point, Timmy, who is nervous about a lot of things, just said, “Mom, I am going to pull your phone out of your pocket and call dad.  I will let him know what is going on.  Should I call Grammy, Grampy and Aunty Sandy, too?”  (We all live in the same house, so this was a logical question.)  Apparently, in the face of a real emergency, Timmy is as cool as a cucumber.
It felt like an eternity for that ambulance to show up.  Thank God for a Good Samaritan who sat at Orianna’s head and caressed her hair while Mommy held her arm stable.  It was very clear that one false move would send the bone right through her skin and they would have a lot more trouble than broken bones.  Through the whole wait, Timmy was a source of calm as he gave an update of what he saw out the window.
“Oh, here is the ambulance, mom.  How is Orianna?  Wow, Orianna.  We’ve never had a ride in an ambulance before.  Are they going to let me go with you?”
“Of course honey.  Thank you for being so good right now.”  Mommy was more than grateful that Timmy was totally focused and in control.  When the EMT’s got to Orianna, they took a while to get her arm stabilized.  The break was in such a tough place to hold steady.  The ambulance ride was going to hurt a lot.  Everything in the EMT’s face told Mommy that Orianna was going to need some extra comfort. 

“It has been almost three years since Orianna's accident, and she still loves that bundle of stuffing.”
That was when Bears-On-Board came into our life.

Suddenly, there was this friendly little teddy bear in Orianna’s good arm. “What are you going to name him?”  The nice EMT asked Orianna.
“Beary.”  Orianna managed between sobs.
The rest of the evening went by in a blur, but that bear never left Orianna’s side.  For three days, through surgery and nerve tests, Beary was a constant companion.  He was the only friend she could take with her in the x-ray room (another reason it is important to make sure the stuffed animals are not electronic or have metal components), in the surgery room and in bed with her while she recovered.  He could take her squeezes through the pain and absorbed all of her tears. 
You know, it seems like a small thing, to give a stuffy to an organization that collects them for this purpose.  But, I will tell you, as the Mommy of a teddy bear recipient, it is a bigger act than you could imagine. It has been almost three years since Orianna’s accident, and she still loves that bundle of stuffing.  She knows where Beary is at all times and has trouble sleeping without him. 
So thank you, wonderful volunteers of Bears-On-Board and the donors who anonymously send hugs and cuddles in the form of stuffies.  It is a small act of kindness that makes a big difference.

Jessica Murphy, Mom of a Bears on Board recipient
A Little More About Us.....
This program is modeled after the Attleboro Area Council for Children’s Bears on Board program which began in 1990. At that time the council’s primary focus was the prevention of child abuse and neglect among children that live in the Attleboro area.  One of the Council’s endeavors was to begin a program called “Bears on Board”.  The program first began with the Attleboro Police and Fire and Rescue Units.  New teddy bears, up to 15” in length, are placed in plastic bags and carried in police and fire rescue vehicles. When police officers, firefighters or rescue personnel are called out on cases of domestic violence where children sometimes are removed from their  homes to protect them or when children are injured in an accident, fire, or even lost, police and fire personnel are able to reduce the child’s trauma by giving them a teddy bear.
In 1997, Jim Pietro of Mid‐State Insurance Agency, Inc. brought the Bears on Board Program to Worcester, Spencer and Charlton.  Annual teddy bear drives were held each
December with 200 – 300 bears collected each year.

The teddy bears have been in such demand that, in August 2001, we held our first annual Teddy Bear Picnic.  In 2002, the program was incorporated.  Corporate donations have since allowed us to expand the program. 
The feedback received has been tremendous.  The Bears on Board Program has eased the stress that police and fire personnel experience and at the same time reduced the trauma for children who experience very scary and unsure
times when a stranger must take them away for whatever reason.
A Worcester Police lieutenant told the story of a mother with four young children who showed up at the police department with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  They were running from an abusive husband.  While getting the family into a safe house, the police officer gave each of the children a teddy bear.  The officer said, “I wish you could see the faces of the children.  It’s a good thing you’re doing.”
"I wish you could see the faces of the children.  It’s a good thing you’re doing."