The Grand Forks Hospital Auxiliary has teamed up with the Grand Forks RCMP and Boundary Regional Victim Services Unit to bring the Care Bear Program to Grand Forks.
This program has many names such as the Teddy Bear or Trauma Bear program, and exists throughout North America. In Grand Forks, we now have the Care Bear program.
This is where frontline police officers or Victim Service workers provide a ‘teddy bear’ to children who have been involved in a traumatic experience such as accidents, violent crimes, and deaths.
These ‘Care Bears’ are given to children in hopes of softening the impact and changing their focus to a comforting object during a difficult situation.
Mark Prior, from the Grand Forks Hospital Auxiliary approached the local RCMP earlier this year about contributing to the program, who have since provided their first batch of stuffed animals. As a former member of the Delta Fire Department, we carried bears on our firetrucks to give to kids, Prior stated.
I figured with the number of bears we collect at the Hospital Auxiliary; we can contribute to this program and assist our local RCMP Detachment.
Over my 20 plus years as a police officer, I have given away many bears, often at a young child’s first experience with a traumatic event, says Grand Forks RCMP Detachment Commander, Sergeant Darryl Peppler.
As police, we must remain focus on the task at hand during a traumatic event, but if we can take a few moments and provide a bit of relief or distraction that can temporarily put a smile on a child’s face or give them something to hug and focus on, then just hopefully we can ease their pain or fear.
When RCMP Victim Services is called to the scene of a traumatic event, people of all ages are often in shock and confused by what is happening around them. This is where the simple act of giving a Teddy Bear can become magic in comfort and support and can deflect the unfolding events around them.
We will often hear, I have never had a teddy bear and thank you for caring about me, stated Boundary Regional RCMP Victim Services Worker, Cathy Riddle. Victim Services is happy to support the comforts of a Care Bear and partner with many organizations who provide the bears to be handed out.
We are very happy to be able to provide these care bears and hope that they continue to hold support for people for many years to come, stated Kayla Ferguson also of the Boundary Regional RCMP Victim Services Unit.
Grand Forks Mounties will keep some of these bears in their police cars to be given immediately at the scene of an event, however, many more will be at the detachment waiting to report for duty when called upon to hopefully put a smile on a young child’s face.