WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A medical emergency or a fire racing through a home: the effects can be devastating, especially to a child.
Waterbury Fire Department Chief Terrance Ballou said the idea of “soothing bears” came to fruition from a community service project at Westside Middle School.
“They came up with the idea of making soothing bears to give to children who, if a fire department responds to a house fire and the child is upset, maybe the bear will help comfort them in their time of sadness,” Westside Principal Peter McCasland said.
McCasland said the school purchased $20,000 worth of sewing equipment and the students got to work, immediately building the bears.
One eighth grader, Kimora Henry, said each table had a team and picked out a design before sewing their bears.
“We just want you to feel comforted,” another eighth grader Briseydy Gonzalez said. “Which is why we made these… and to feel safe.”
Ballou noted that a fire or medical emergency is “pretty daunting,” and believes most children in that situation are in a state of shock at first. By gifting the bears, however, Ballou hopes to provide comfort to those in need.
“It’s an avenue to reach out to a kid who might be traumatized, to get them to relax a little bit, Ballou said.
More than 100 bears have been collected and will be on board the fire trucks for the next job.