Members of the high school’s Key Club and National Honor Society recently joined forces to remember children in Orange County foster care homes by sponsoring and donating 55 Build-a-Bear bears to those children.
The creative community service effort was spearheaded by Key Club President Olivia Lombardo, who is also the NHS webmaster, and intended to coincide with the recent National Hugging Day.
¨As a young adult aspiring to pursue pediatrics, I wished more than anything to make a meaningful impact on a community I adore,¨ she said. “And with the beautiful outpour of support from both Key Club and NHS, we will be giving new homes to 55 Build-A-Bears undoubtedly stuffed with love. From the absolute bottom of my heart, thank you so much to the membership of Minisink Valley Key Club and NHS. Because of your service, you will be gifting a child their new best friend.¨
As a part of the experience, NHS and Key Club members picked out their Build-A-Bears at the Galleria at Crystal Run’s store and stuffed them at workshop stations. As part of the bear building process, members participated in Build-a-Bear’s traditional heart ceremony, where they added a tiny fabric heart into their bears.
After the ceremony, the Key Club and NHS students also sponsored and selected accessories to personalize their bears, including video game consoles, guitars, winter hats and bows. Once the bears were dressed, “adoption certificates” were issued for each, which involved creating a unique name and birthday for each bear.
Minisink Valley’s Key Club chapter currently holds the title at the largest community service chapter, with over 100 members for the 2021-22 school year.
“The love of a teddy bear: What a wonderful way for our Key Club to bring smiles to children´s faces in foster care,¨ Club Advisor Jodi Vandervoort said about the effort.
Minisink Valley Kiwanis First Vice President Cynthia Ewancia-Morse, who is also a Key Club advisor, also praised the students’ efforts.
“All I can say is I hope each child who receives a bear can feel the love and caring that went into the creation and I hope it helps to know there are people who care,” she said. “We are here to make your tomorrows brighter.¨
National Hugging Day is celebrated every year on Jan. 21. Its idea is to encourage everyone to hug family and friends more often. A hug is the simplest way of expressing love and affection.
See more photos on the district’s Facebook page.