One Jayme’s Bear’s Journey

Michelle Heggenauer and Amber Forrence, SNHU Jayme’s Fund interns delivering Bears!

Where do Jayme’s Bears go? We have often told people generally – for instance, some have gone overseas with youth groups who are doing service work, or in our communities at hospitals and community programs that work with children; others have been given out to police and fire departments, children dealing with life-threatening illnesses, living in a shelter, or facing life-altering circumstances. We love giving the bears away, and we don’t usually hear from the recipient after they receive a Jayme’s Bear.

While we don’t expect to hear from recipients, we LOVE it when they do reach out to us, and sometimes it’s many years later or by chance that we learn of a bear’s journey and the impact on adults and children alike. Thanks so much to Stephanie for sharing your story with us!

We’re happy to share her story with you as well.

Stephanie’s Story:

 I was the proud recipient of a Jayme’s Bear, handmade by Michelle Hegenauer. (Note:  Michelle was an awesome Jayme’s Fund Intern while she attended college at Southern New Hampshire University). She told me the special significance of the bear, the love that was put into the craftsmanship, and the reason she chose me to be the owner of the bear. I was so moved by this wonderful gesture and the bear was kept right on my desk in my classroom as a reminder of its importance. My students often questioned the bear, and why it was really special to me, and the bear immediately became special to them. They would ask to read to “Teddy”, and they would also ask for Teddy to sit on their desk.

As the school year ended, I thought about Teddy, and how he could make the most impact. I immediately thought of a student who abruptly moved to the United States from Haiti, not knowing any English. His whole world changed almost overnight. He had also recently lost his father, prior to his move to the United States. I thought about all the changes that he had undergone in such a short period of time. In my heart, I felt that Teddy could be the one consistent thing in his life.

On the last day of school, I presented “Teddy” to the young boy, in the same way that Michelle presented it to me. I felt that he had made so much growth in attaining English and doing his best to be a great student and friend to other students. He was overjoyed and kept hugging the bear intensely. I am happy to know that the bear will be a source of comfort and strength for the boy, and he will pass it along when he feels he no longer needs it. Jayme’s Bears are a powerful and inspirational tool for people of all ages, and all walks of life! Thank you to Michelle Hegenauer, and to you, for the huge impact that one bear had in my life!

With Gratitude,
Stephanie Case
Third Grade Teacher
Robertson School
Manchester, CT

Stephanie – thank you again for taking the time to share your story with us. What a gift this bear was for your students, and how thoughtful of you to pass it on to a hardworking student dealing with so many challenges including the loss of his father, moving from his home, and moving into a new community when he doesn’t yet speak English. We’re so glad “Teddy” made such a difference for you and this student, and we are so grateful to you for sharing this story with us.

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