A little act of kindness can go a long way and that was the message that sixth, seventh and eighth graders at West Side Middle School in Waterbury hope to share with the public.
“I put all my love when I was making the teddy bears,” Genesis Garcia, an eighth grader said.
The students donated custom-made teddy bears to the Waterbury Fire Department to help bring comfort to those in need and the students said they hope victims feel something special when they receive a stuffed animal.
“Like they’re not alone, like we could give stuff to them, you know. We just want them to feel happy,” Kimora Henry, an eighth-grader, said.
Erin Holmes, a teacher, organized the project.
“I was getting frustrated with my students in the ‘me, me, me, now, now, now, with the social media, TikTok stuff that was going on in the fall,” Holmes said.
She has the book about 365 acts of kindness and started to do a daily kindness in the classroom.
“I came across one talking about a woman who had collected donations for children who lost their possessions in a fire and I remember that when I was in middle school we used to make bears to give to the fire engines,” Holmes said.
The goal was to give the students more than just a sewing lesson and also teach them, but teach them, “Even you -- as a sixth-, seventh, eighth-grader -- can make a difference in somebody’s life” says Holmes.
The fire chief believes the act of kindness will make the tragedy of a fire a little more bearable.
“It’s the fact that there’s a connection in the community because they’re going to be traumatized anytime you have a structure fire and lose you everything that you have,” Waterbury Fire Chief Terrence Ballou said. “Anything that lessens that anxiety and strengthens the connection, I think is a strong positive.”
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