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Local elementary school sending teddy bears to Manchester

Local elementary school sending teddy bears to Manchester

TOLEDO, OH (WNWO) - Following Monday’s heartbreaking attack on an Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester, England, one local school wanted to reach out and help.

The students and staff at Robinson Elementary School knew the perfect way to show their support for victims of the Manchester bombing: They hosted a teddy bear drive.

Theresa Mariea, Robinson Support Teacher, explained “It wasn’t just an attack on citizens; it was an attack on our very youngest and most vulnerable. So what we wanted to do as a school since we have young children is provide some support and comfort.”

The building leadership team at the school came together to figure out how they could address the emotional needs of the victims.

Dr. James M. Jones, Principal of Robinson Elementary School, added “What is the best way to touch somebody else’s life and be able to have somebody that you can hold and give you that comfort? And we thought 'what would be a good instrument to do that?' and that was the teddy bear.”

Mariea continued “We all grew up with them. They all provided support when there was the rainstorm or you didn’t feel well and we wanted to do the same for the kids in Manchester.”

Some of the students at the school are too young to even comprehend what all happened, but it did not matter. They knew there were children on the other side of the globe in need and they wanted to help.

Honestii Adkins, first grader, said “They are teddy bears for the kids that were at the concert when the bomb got dropped.”

“I feel really sad because of the fact that they got injured for somebody else’s actions," added Alexis Thomas. "That’s just really sad."

Marissa Griffin, sixth grader, summarized it well: “A bunch of people got hurt, and we just want to support them and make sure that they feel like they have someone that cares.”

For Mariea, the support efforts are personal. In 2013 she was running the Boston Marathon when it was bombed.

“I was not hurt. I was in the finishing shoots. But then I roamed that city for hours trying to get back to my hotel which was at the starting line. So for me, even though a lot of those kids were not injured, they saw things, heard things that will leave scars on the inside for a long time.”

Theresa explained she, like many other bombing victims, exhibited forms of PTSD including anxiety from large groups or sudden loud noises..

“I’m an adult. They were hard enough for me. Knowing that these were mostly young children, 8 to 18 years old, early twenties, sometimes those coping skills aren’t quite there.”

While the main goal of the teddy bears is to aid the victims, it also offers a valuable learning opportunity to the students of Robinson Elementary.

“If you just do small acts of kindness, you can change the world. And we want our kids to know that.”

Teddy bears and other stuffed animal donations will still be accepted until May 31st, at which point they will then begin their trip to England.

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