Teddy bears for children from children
June 25, 2008 · Updated 1:14 PM
"Grace Swanson and some of her classmates present Sargent Rick Norrie of the Island County Sheriff Department with money they raised for the department's Sunshine Fund. Pictured from left to right, Rebecca Kniest, Emily Houk, Scott Warwick, Sargent Rick Norrie, Tessa Chiarizio, Grace Swanson and Sommer Harris.Gayle Saran/staff photoA group of young children celebrated Random Acts of Kindness week this month by raising money to buy teddy bears for other children. Grace Swanson and some of her classmates in Kathy Stanley's first and second grade class at South Whidbey Primary School raised $47 in five days for the Island County Sheriff Department's Sunshine fund. The money will be used to buy teddy bears that deputies carry in their cars for children who are victims of accident, fire or domestic violence. It is a national trend for law enforcement and fire department personnel to have these warm and furry friends on board for crisis situations with children.Grace, who is seven years old, was inspired by a segment of the PBS children's program, Zoom, in which a group of children organized a penny drive to buy teddy bears for a local fire department. Grace's mother, Fawn Swanson, said her daughter took her allowance in a jar to school last Monday to start the fund drive. She asked classmates to help her collect money for the cause from other students and teachers during recess. Her 3-year-old brother Thomas contributed $3 from his piggy bank as well. Other charities were suggested to her, but she was firm about wanting the money to go for teddy bears, Fawn Swanson said.I just wanted to help kids here, and make them feel better when they were scared because of a house fire or car accident, Grace said as she presented the collection to Sargent Rick Norrie of the Island County Sheriff's Department. Norrie, who is president of the Deputies' Guild, praised Grace and her classmates for their efforts. Your hard work is really appreciated by the deputies, and it will make a difference in your community by helping other children, Norrie said.When a deputy gives a child a teddy bear, it gives the child something to hold onto, and offers a good opportunity for the officer and child to relate, Norrie said.He added that have a teddy bear given to them makes children feel important and special. "