How can you comfort a scared girl or boy in a frightening or tragic situation? The simple but brilliant solution: with a lovable, huggable stuffed toy.
CIN’s Hug-a-Bear service provides comfort to Native American children who have been involved in a traumatic situation. Thanks to donations of stuffed animals from CIN donors from across the country, the Hug-a-Bear program distributes stuffed animals each year to a growing number of police, fire, and emergency medical services on reservations throughout the Southwest.
These emergency personnel distribute the stuffed animals to children distressed by accidents, illness or other traumas in their environment.
Reservation firefighters and police enthusiastially support the Hug-a-Bear service because it helps calm the child and creates a positive image in the community for emergency and police services. Reservation police in particular find that the service helps police establish a more trusting relationship with the children and their parents. One officer even told us that he keeps a big teddy bear in the back seat of his police car. No matter how traumatic the situation, emergency personnel have found that a simple stuffed animal provides a powerful sense of comfort and security to children. A paramedic for the Barona Fire Protection District shared with us that “[t]his is a program every department should participate in.”