Thousands of women and children are impacted by domestic violence daily. The Child Rescue Foundation, Inc. (CRF) maintains the mission to provide financial aid to families and children impacted by trauma and violence and to continue to establish outreach and feral programs that provide a holistic approach to recovery for those that have been impacted by violence. CRF focuses most of its violence prevention and education programs in the Denver metro area where Denver police respond to more than 6,000 domestic violence calls annually with more than 1/3 of the calls involving children who witness the violence. Since 1996, there have been more than 300 homicides directly related to domestic violence.
The Teddy Bear Project™ was created three years ago to provide gifts for children who have been impacted by violence. In three years, CRF has provided more than 26,000 plush animals as a symbol of unconditional love for kids in crisis. Each year CRF works for months to build partnerships with community leaders (such as the Build A Bear Company, Rocky Mountain Alarm Co. and the Bombay Trading Company) and to gain volunteers who will collect and re-tag the teddy bears. 2003 marks the second year that CRF has collected and retagged plush animals on Make A Difference Day. This year, 97 volunteers helped to collect 1,598 stuffed animals, 40 packets of blankets, and 25 packets of diapers. The collected items were delivered to Denver-area aid organizations.
The Teddy Bear Project™ impacts two different portions of the Denver community. The first group is comprised of community members who donate or volunteer to retag and deliver the items. They are reminded of the importance of violence prevention and education. The volunteers are also motivated to take action in their own lives and the lives of those that they care for. The second group is composed of people who have experienced violence and may depend on the kindness of aid organizations and individuals for their survival. The stuffed animals are retagged with the contact information for CRF, which offers information on available resources, if and when the child is in trouble. The tags also contain a special message to the recipient with its own special name. The University of Denver athletes/students have an ongoing commitment to this program and feel hat it greatly adds to the students’ college experience by exposing them to the issue of domestic violence by aiding the healing process for children in crisis.
Domestic violence impacts all of us. CRF’s program is unique, because it strives to galvanize the community, especially the children, in giving back to the community. More than 2,700 Girl Scouts work on this project during the fall season each year. These symbols of unconditional love provide hope, peace and care in times of crisis.