Where do Jayme’s Bears go?
To trace the journey of one of Jayme’s Bears, let’s start with a bit of a history lesson. Back in 2012, we launched the Jayme’s Bears Project, inspired by the mitzvah (or “good deed”) Jayme completed at age twelve. She hand-made forty fleece teddy bears, delivering them to the Jimmy Fund Clinic for distribution to children at Dana Farber in Boston, MA. They were packaged with hand-made tags and a special message that she wrote. The trip to Boston was a highlight for her as she was able to meet a patient, give a bear away, as well as see a treatment room where her bears would reside until they were given to children undergoing bone marrow treatments.
Today, The Jayme’s Bears Project engages communities through bear-making events and provides hand-sewn bears for children living through difficult circumstances locally and around the world. The project wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers who generously dedicate their time, energy, and talents to creating the bears!
To date, more than 1,200 bears have been created and distributed, made possible by our amazing volunteer bear makers and to the high-quality polar Tec fleece that KK Gregor Greer of Mill Direct Textiles makes so affordable for us. Rose Kozdra, owner of Main Street Studio, taught Jayme to make the bears, and she continues to teach our volunteers how to make quality bears and remains instrumental in the success of the program.
We also allocate a portion of the funding to Scholarships for Success.
Here’s what the journey of one of these bears looks like:
- The materials for the bears are donated or purchased at a discount.
- Volunteer Bear Makers gather at one of our community sew-a-thons. We rely on experienced sewers, and all other volunteers (with different levels of experience) take on the various tasks of cutting, assembling, sewing, adding details, and packaging the bears. Volunteers often tell us they get so much more out of the experience then what they feel they are giving, and we so appreciate our amazing bear makers!
- Volunteers work with Jayme’s Fund to decide where the bears will be going. We welcome suggestions for organizations that are helping children and would like to distribute the bears. Once made, the bears are packaged in a tote bag with a special book and tag.
- Each bear, with the help of a volunteer, makes its way to its new home. That could involve a drive to a local shelter, hospital, or fire station, or it could involve a delivery to an organization that may be heading out on a trip to help children in other countries..
- Once Jayme’s Bears arrive at their destination, child and bear get to meet for the first time. We have some heartwarming stories and wonderful photos of children who have received a Jayme’s Bear. Sometimes we are both surprised and delighted to hear what the bear meant to a child or some of the creative ways that bears have helped children, such as a teacher who keeps a bear in her special education class to help students self-regulate.
- If the family of the child would like to, we encourage them to share a photo when the bear has reached its new home. To track more of these stories moving forward, we’re asking recipients to use the hashtag #jaymesbears and to tag us with a photo on social media (or send us an email).
Head here to learn more about the project and see the incredible list of some of the places Jayme’s Bears have gone so far.
Head here to join us on April 22nd for the Bringing the Bears Out Of Hibernation community bear-making event. Join us to support children in difficult circumstances and give back. Morning and afternoon volunteers are needed – we’d love for you to consider joining us.
If you are not able to attend the event, but would still like to help out, please make a donation to support the Jayme’s Bear Project and our Scholarships for Success program.
Another way to support our events is to spread the word about them by sharing this post or telling a friend. Thank you!
Photo description: We’ve included a few photos to illustrate the bear-making process and the joy it brings those who attend!