Saturday, April 9, 2016

Teddy Bears, Peace Officers, and Children

The "Precious Pals Get Crafty" project continues to supply law enforcement with irresistible stuffed animals.  Knitters and crocheters meet monthly at Ashe Library to learn new stitches, interpret patterns, and help each other with projects.  Get Crafty takes place between 10:00 - 12:00 on the second Saturday of each month and all ages and skill levels are welcome.   If you've never tried these crafts and would like to learn, members of this group are glad to help. Project supplies are provided through Friends of the Library support and craft donations.

The Precious Pals Project creates sweaters for cuddly teddy bears, or even lions and giraffes.  These animals ride with policemen in their patrol cars and if they have a crisis call with a child present, they are given to them to calm their fears. The project began last summer, providing a supply of teddy bears to West Jefferson's police force. 

When folks found out about this un"bear"ably good cause, more bears were donated to the library for crafters to outfit.  The cause also raised awareness among even more knitters and crocheters, increasing  contributions to the project.   With all the animals donated, there have been enough bears to extend outreach out in the county.  Ashe County Sheriff, James Williams,  says that unfortunately there are bad situations when children are present and these toys are a comfort to help calm their fears.  

Officer Moody, Ashe County Officer, stopped by the library Saturday to pick up a bag of  animals and thank the knitters.  He also says that the toys are a way to let children know they shouldn't be afraid of policemen.  Recently while talking to a group of school children at a campus visit, he saw a child who he had given a teddy bear to over a year ago. "What blew me away was the child had the toy I had given him at school! It meant a lot to him and he even remembered me giving it to him." said Moody.   When police officers can give something to a child, it makes them seem less scary and children aren't as intimidated.

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