Daily Point of Light # 2734 Jul 28, 2004

Brandy Calvert is active with Girl Scouts and does community service projects with her troop. However, she began another special endeavor on her own.

In June of last year, Brandy went to the mall with some friends and looked into the Build-A-Bear store. She saw The Nikki Bear, a teddy bear named after Nikki Giampolo who lost her life to cancer when she was only 14 years old. Her mom talked to the Build-A-Bear company to make a bear after her because she made so many bears there and gave them to kids will illness.

Brandy felt this was a prime opportunity for her to cheer up someone. She asked her Mom if she could collect money and build Nikki Bears to give to kids who have cancer and long-term illness. Brandy received her mother’s approval and began her own Nikki Bear Project.

Though she was excited, Brandy found the hardest part was finding hospitals that would accept the bears. In August, INOVA Fairfax Hospital for Children called and said they would be honored to take the bears and give them to the kids. The Nikki Bear Project was off and rolling. Next Brandy created fliers and sent them out into the community. She also went to several fire houses in Arlington and asked for donations.

Soon the donations were coming in at a steady pace and she had enough to build 40 Nikki Bears. In September, with the help of three of my friends, they built 40 Nikki Bears at the Build-A-Bear store. Brandy and her mom were elated to deliver the bears to patients at the INOVA Fairfax Hospital for Children. When Brandy and her mother delivered the bears,they found new friends in the patients and saw the young children gain some sense of comfort because of the bears.

In addition to the Nikki Bear Project, Brandy has also worked on food drives, mitten drives, coat drives, clean up a homeless shelter and even help to make children’s id’s. Brandy is still a teenager, but she knows that she can do whatever she puts her mind to it as long as she is dedicated and works hard at it.