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Teddy bears make life more bearable for kids

TEDDY BEARS – Gibson County Carl Perkins Center Director Bett Jewell (from left) and CP Center Advisory Board Member Richard Sharp are joined by several members of the Gibson County Adult Leadership Class of 2022-23 who sponsored a teddy bear drive for the child abuse center. Members of the class include Christy Skelton, Brandon Joyce, Cody Denevan, Kenra Simpson, Eric Echtenkamp, Nicole Ownby and Kerrie Staten. Thanks to the bear drive, the center has almost 400 teddy bears to bring smiles to the children they serve.

by ARIEL McRAE  |  Associate Editor

The Gibson County Carl Perkins Center is holding a countywide fundraiser to gift every child that enters the organization a tangible symbol of hope to cling to while going through hardships. The Teddy Bear Drive is a project created by the Gibson County Adult Leadership Class of 2022-2023 and the goal of the program has been to provide as many new bears to the center as possible this year.  

The children that grace the center are there under circumstances of duress from the adults in their lives. Sexual abuse, physical abuse and domestic violence, often against their mothers, are the most common reasons why the Gibson County CPC steps in to help these families. These traumas take a toll on everyone involved, especially the children. In a time when everything is tough and scary, sometimes something to hold can bring a child through it to the other side. This is where a new teddy bear comes in to help.  

Every child going through the doors of the Child Advocacy Center receives a brand-new teddy bear friend of their choosing that they can squeeze and cuddle for strength and comfort as they start the lengthy process of dealing with trauma. As the current sponsor of the Teddy Bear Drive, Gibson County Adult Leadership just delivered 350 new bears to the center just in time, as their bear wall was looking a little bare.  

“Often, the bear (a child) chooses becomes a reminder that there is hope,” Bett Jewell, director of the Gibson County Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, explained. “This is where they begin their journey to heal.” 

Once a child chooses a bear, they are provided with other completely free services at the center. The Gibson County CPC relies on donors, volunteers and all local supporters to help fund these detrimental programs for traumatized families. Every dollar raised within Gibson County for the Child Advocacy Center is spent at the Gibson County CPC locations. This aids in helping all the local families who desperately need somewhere to turn.  

“Our ultimate goal is always to help a family become stronger and safer,” Jewell exclaimed.  

The locations to donate bears for the current sponsors are Humboldt, Milan and Greater Gibson County Chamber of Commerce; Humboldt, Medina, Rutherford and Trenton Centennial Bank; Trenton Floor Center; Milan Security Bank and Trust; and Dyer First United Methodist Church. 

The Gibson County Carl Perkins Center is always looking for the next Teddy Bear Drive sponsors. For more information about where to donate and how to become a sponsor please contact Bett Jewell at 731-855-4884. 

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