Raymond Terrace Lions Club Teddy Bear Program

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From the Port Stephens Examiner SEPTEMBER 14 2018

Ellie-Marie Watts

Raymond Terrace firefighters will be better equipped to help children involved in emergency incidents after receiving a cuddly donation from the town’s Lions club.

Eighteen teddy bears have been donated to the Fire and Rescue station by Raymond Terrace Lions, which will be distributed by firefighters to youths that are in need of comfort during emergency call-outs.

“We’re very appreciative and thankful for the donation,” Raymond Terrace fire captain Dennis Peters said.

“It’s a thoughtful donation to us, but also to any children we will give them to. They will definitely be utilised.”

It is the second lot of bears Raymond Terrace Lions club has donated to emergency services.

The first box of bears, which have the unofficial name of ‘trauma teddies’, went to Port Stephens police in May.

Raymond Terrace Lions secretary Glenys Francis said the group was aiming to cover all three emergency services, and is looking to also donate a box of bears to the town’s NSW Ambulance service.

“It’s just a nice little bear for children to help them cope in certain situations that can be traumatising like car crashes or a house fire,” she said.

Mrs Francis and Raymond Terrace Lions Club president Judith Bee presented the box of bears to firefighters on Thursday, September 13.

Not just any bears, the teddies are specially made and distributed through Lions’ Crime Watch program to help youth in distress.

Operation Teddy Bear, as the project is called, was established in Victoria 30 years ago. About 12 months ago the project was rolled out nation-wide.

Lions clubs purchase the box of 18 bears, which cost $10 each, using funds it has raised and donate them to groups and organisations that come into contact with distressed or traumatised youths, such as police, firefighters and paramedics.

Ms Francis said to raise the funds to purchase the box of 18 teddies, Lions members had to sell about 70 sausage sandwiches.

raymondterrace-bears

Judith and Inga from Lions Raymond Terrace present some comfort teddies to Inspector Tony Townsend.

Photo and story from the News of the Area  5 June 2018 by Rachael VAUGHAN

IN emergency situations, a child can experience significant trauma.

The mental health and wellbeing of children in Raymond Terrace and surrounds is high priority for the Lions Club of Raymond Terrace, and they have put in place some cuddly friends to help these children through potentially very difficult times.

Operation Teddy Bear began in Victoria 30 years ago, and has recently spread to other states. The program sees community groups like Lions Clubs of Australia donated teddy bears to emergency services personnel so that they may offer the teddies to comfort a child whose family has been made homeless, a child involved in a road accident, or a child affected by domestic violence or sexual assault.

Inga Kasch from Raymond Terrace Lions completed the handover with President Judith Bee. Inga told News Of The Area, “We are so pleased to be involved in the program, and to be able to help,”

“We gave some to John Hunter Hospital, and some to our Police here in Raymond Terrace.”

“We thought we could help to lessen the burden of some terrible situations for these young kids, a small token to help in a vulnerable situation.”

“I know it will also help the Police to see the children in these situations are emotionally eased by being given a bear,” she said.

The Lions Club encouraged the Police to call them if they run out of teddies, anytime. It is hoped they never will, because that would reflect children being safe and out of danger across Port Stephens, but it’s a heartwarming thought that comfort is there whenever needed.

Inspector Tony Townsend told News Of The Area, “These teddies will compliment the use of the DV house in Raymond Terrace and our emergency accommodation, and it’s a little something that can help a child while support services make arrangements for children and families.” “On behalf of the Police and these children, I thank you.”

“We see what the Lions do in our community, and we are so so thankful,” he said.

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