2018 Volunteer of the Year Award
Congratulations Teddi to the Rescue
Arizona Leading Age 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award
Nominated for Volunteer Group of the Year Award is the Teddy to the Rescue sewing group from Fellowship Square Historic Mesa. They started making Teddy Bears for the Mesa Police Department in February 2017 and since then have donated over 400 bears equating to over 400 hours of volunteer time. As Patty Gallagher, Crime Prevention Officer and our community liaison stated in her letter attached “these Teddy Bears can turn a scary situation into a positive interaction with a Police Officer”. The bears are used by the officers to hand out to a child during situations like domestic violence or car accidents. This program engages the residents providing a sense of purpose and way to contribute to the Mesa Community in a positive way. The Mesa Police have asked if the group can donate at least 5 bears a week as this is the pace the police officers need them. This is a goal they have joyfully met! The bears are very simple they use a simple blanket stich and no choking hazards, with only a painted face. Residents that can no longer sew also help by donating fabric.
On October 10, 2017 Fellowship Square Historic Mesa hosted a Teddy to the Rescue event for two local group homes that house at risk teenage girls. Together a dozen of our residents, a dozen girls from the group homes and a dozen Mesa PD School Resource Officers enjoyed fellowship and bear making. Attached is my recap of the event with a few pictures. Please note for confidentiality and safety reasons we were not allowed to photograph the girl’s faces. This was a very special day as they made and donated 26 bears. Watching the officers, girls and residents enjoy fellowship coming together as a community was simply amazing. Through interactions with this volunteer group, the teenagers have been inspired to return for other opportunities to volunteer.
This volunteer group has found purpose, filled a need in our community and inspired teenagers. What better way to preserve dignity, well-being and independence than to find purpose!
The opportunity is open to our entire community with these ladies as consistent members of the group: Doris Phillips, Ann Knudson, Bernetha Crawford, Ruth Shira, Dorothy Koontz, Christine O Connor, Rosie Miller, Penny Schram, Alana Zimmer.
Arizona LeadingAge is the trusted voice for not-for-profit and other mission driven organizations dedicated to providing quality housing, healthcare and community based services for Arizona’s seniors. The group will receive the award at their June Annual Conference
As part of the Nomination, Patty Gallagher our Mesa PD Liaison, sent this statement:
The Mesa Police Department is very grateful for the hundreds of beautiful handmade Teddy Bears that the ladies from Fellowship Square have been providing to us over the last year. These Teddy Bears can turn a scary situation into a positive interaction with a Police Officer! Officers carry them in their cars so they can hand them to a child. While out on patrol, these Officers often respond to calls at homes where there is a domestic violence situation, where someone in a home has been injured or frightened, or even at a vehicle crash site. One Officer told me he keeps them in his car to hand to children at crash sites and it helps to calm them down. Another Officer was able to help a homeless family get housing and handed their child a teddy bear which gave the child great joy to have a toy of their own! Officers appreciate having something to give to a child that can take their mind off of the bad situation for a minute and turn it into a positive situation! This helps to build relationships between the Officers and children too. Being given a Teddy Bear by a Police Officer is something a child will always remember! We can’t thank the Fellowship Square “Teddy to the Rescue” Program Volunteers enough for their generous donations to our Officers!