Family Does a Good Deed

Lorrie Hansen, mother of Bears of Hope volunteer, Jessica, was expecting her relatives coming to her home for the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Lorrie called us and said, “My relatives and I are looking for an opportunity to help a local charity while everyone is in town. Is there something we could do for Bears of Hope?” Indeed, there were bears waiting to be sewn, stuffed and finished.  Materials were put together for Lorrie and her relatives. 

 Lorrie and her relatives held a Bear Workshop Saturday, November 25, 2017. Members of the family, sewed and stuffed bears. others iron-on facial features and tied ribbon with a bow around bears necks. Jake, Lorrie’s dad, replied, “This was a terrific idea!”  Lorrie said, “We had a bear-y good time!”

Bears Founder, Carolyn, commented, “Bears of Hope is grateful for what this family did for us.  They certainly exhibit a true spirit of caring for others in need.”


8th Grade Students Learn Empathy

Parkview School teacher, Kath Mazukelli, wanted her 8th grade students to understand what the word empathy meant. She called us and said,”Bears of Hope would be an amazing way to help my students learn the meaning of empathy and how showing it to someone feeling sick or sad can help them feel better. Is there something my students could do for Bears of Hope? '  Of course there was. 

Teacher Kate showed them “Bears of Hope's 10 Year Celebration” video, the day before we arrived. Afterwards seeing the video, the students wrote letters to go with the bears they would finish the next day. Bears volunteers, Sandy T and Carolyn came to the Morton Grove School November 21, 2017. Three projects were setup in the library for the students to do. Every student had a chance to work on all the projects. Their teacher said: “I was so gald to see my students enjoying themselves and working together. They learned what empathy means.” 


Veterans Appreciated

For the tenth year, Bears of Hope joined Skokie’s McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood & Steak Restaurant for its annual ‘Veterans Appreciation Day’ on November 5, 2017. The restaurant gave veterans a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée and we gave them a patriotic-themed fabric bear. Bears Founder, Carolyn Reiner, said,  “We’ve been making bears for veterans since Bears of Hope began in 2007.  It’s our way of thanking veterans for their service to our nation and showing them how much we care”.  Bears volunteers personally gave patriotic bears to the veterans. Bears volunteer, Marge Davis said, “I enjoyed meeting and listening to the veterans ’war’ stories”.  They are so grateful for what we do for veterans."

Our patriotic bears are also given to Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care, a receiving VA Hospice for terminally ill and dying veterans. Karen Huber, Rainbow’s coordinator of volunteer services, commented, “The bears bring smiles to the veterans faces, give them comfort and lets them know people care about them and what they did for our country.”

Restaurant General Manager, Aaron Torricelli, remarked, “This was McCormick & Schmick’s 20th annual ‘Veterans Appreciation Day’.  We are honored to show appreciation to our veterans. Bears of Hope was an added bonus and a huge part of the event that meant so much to the veterans.” 


Volunteer Fair At Niles West High School

On October 27,  Bears of Hope participated in Niles West High School’s, “Volunteer Fair”. Katie Odell, Director of Student Activities for Niles West High School, said, “The goal for the “Volunteer Fair” is to expose our students to many different organizations in the area and get them involved.”  Students get credit points for volunteering. Students who achieve 100 volunteer points at the end of their senior year, are honored at the graduation ceremony with an honor cord they wear around their neck.  One hundred students from the 2017 Senior Graduation Class were awarded the special honor cord. Bears of Hope’s founder, Carolyn Reiner, replied, “We’re very proud of Bears volunteer Claire. She volunteered with Bears of Hope and was amongst those seniors receiving the honor cord.”


 Besides Bears of Hope, eight other organizations had booths at the Fair. During lunch periods, students  Sandy talking to students came to the booths to find out about volunteer opportunities. Bears of Hope volunteers, Carolyn Reiner & Sandy Taylor spoke to many students and demonstrated what we needed done such as: tracing the bear pattern on fabric, sewing bears, stuffing and closing bears. By volunteering with Bears of Hope, students are doing something worthwhile for others and having a fun-time doing it.


Bears of Hope's 10th Year Celebrated with Sales Vantage Referral

Rebecca Adams, A Safe Cleaning Service, looking at the prototype bearOn October 24th, Bears of Hope celebrated its 10th year anniversary with Skokie Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Sales Vantage Referral leads group.  Bears founder, Carolyn Reiner, said,  “ It was only fitting to do something with SVR. The members were the first to support the Bears when I started Bears of Hope in 2007 and have continued to do so”.  Attorney, Paul Plotnik, replied, “I support the Bears because I like what they do for others.” Bears volunteers make bears to bring comfort and hope to sick children & adults. Carolyn knows first-hand how something soft and cuddly can help you feel better. She had her bear during her ordeal fighting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The celebration started with a special bears treat Bears volunteers made for members. Carolyn showed the leads group members the rarely seen bear that started Bears of Hope. This was the prototype bear Carolyn made for focus groups she had when organizing Bears of Hope. The bear served its purpose. Focus groups gave Carolyn ‘thumbs up’to start Bears of Hope. Over 2,200 bears are now being loved by individuals needing emotional support to feel better.

The celebration concluded with Bears of Hope’s first video, highlighting the Bears first10 years. Fred Rothschild, Rothschild Insurance, remarked, “It was very thoughtful of Bears of Hope to include us in their celebration.  What they do for others is amazing!"

Bears Founder, Carolyn Reiner, showing 2000 bear