Bridging People and Places   

                                One Person at a Time




Kids Helping Kids Projects

November, 2009 Schuylerville Elementary School Dresses and Hugs Teddy Bears

First and Fifth Graders Work Together

Students in Rob Thompson's and Pete Carner's fifth grade class and Andy Jenning's and Matt Becht's first grade class at Schuylerville Elementary School collaborated on a "Bear Hugs Project."  The day before the project, the fifth graders went to the first graders and read "The Giant Hug" in preparation for dressing and hugging the teddy bears. 


Students gave up their recess to to dress, hug, and fill 120  bears with love.  The bears were dressed in sweaters  knit by Joan Sullivan of Schuylerville.  Joan was invited to the classroom to participate.  Students decorated "Bear Dens," the bags that will carry the bears to their new owners.  The fifth graders wrote letters to go with the bears. 


Joan was presented the Knitter of the Year 2009 award by Lorraine Thompson, President of Bridging People and Places.  The service award presented to Joan was covered by the Saratogian, the feature article can be read by accessing their web page:               

Rob Thompson, Fifth Grade Teacher, Hugs a Bear

2009 Scotia Glenville Central School Service Learning Program

Students at the Scotia Glenville Central School District (SGCSD) in upstate New York participate each year in a nationally recognized service-learning program.  The SGCSD has developed their own version of the Bridging People and Places  "Bear Hugs Program.  Each year, through the service-learning program, they purchase 100 teddy bears. 

The service-learning program brings senior citizens and student volunteers together to knit teddy bear sweaters and hats after school on Mondays. The seniors teach the students how to knit and the students learn to appreciate the value of socializing with and learning from an older generation.

When the 100 sweaters were completed, students took them and bears to residents in ARC Group homes, nursing homes, and other community groups.  There volunteers and residents dressed the bears and filled them with their special hugs and love.  The teddy bears were then donated to organizations serving  abused and neglected children.


2009 Tamarac Elementary and Middle Schools, Brunswick Central School District, Brunswick, NY

The Tamarac Elementary School, under the leadership of Suzanne Myers and Ginny Hanby, have been participating in our Kids Helping Kids Program since 2003.  Their creative Service Learning Program has been expanded to include the entire elementary school. 

Bear Den Bags

Bear Dens are paper bags to carry teddy bears in.  The bags are sent to children at the Double H Ranch, a camp for children with serious and life threatening illnesses, and Unity House, a shelter for domestic violence.  The Bear Den Bags are decorated with beautiful artwork and good wishes.  Thirty two first graders organized the Bear Den Bag drive this year, creating speeches, visiting every classroom to talk about the project, surveying the staff as to whether they wanted to participate (100% did) and asking how many bags they needed.  They counted out the bags in tens and made their deliveries. 

Bear Dressing

All the students in pre-K through second grade learned a lesson in compassion, empathy, and sharing, by dressing nearly 600 bears provided by Bridging People and Places.  Students filled them with love, hope and strength. 

The children compared their feelings about hugs and 'lovies' with what the campers at the Double H Ranch must feel like... and decided they had plenty of extra love to share.  Each student dressed two bears and then sent them off to campers.  Once the bears were dressed the children held the bears tight to their chest, closed their eyes, and filled the bears with comforting loving thoughts.

Knitting Sweaters

Suzanne Meyers expanded the service program this year to include the community by asking knitters to help make teddy bear sweaters.  In a matter of four weeks, 20 or more knitters provided us with 160 sweaters to help with the dressing.  The 1st graders, who had organized the Bear Den Drive, wrote individual thank you notes to the knitters and asked them to 'keep knitting' for next year.  The youngest knitter was a 5th grade student.  Three of the sweaters arrived from The Netherlands from families who were on exchange there and decided to join in the fun.


Quilts For Children in Shelters

Eight classes at Tamarac Elementary School and the Kids Care Club at the Tamarac Middle School worked on a Quilt Project. 

The Kids Care Club, an after school community service club, designed their 12 quilt blocks around a food theme this year.   Working together, they decided what foods would be present on the quilt and drew them on muslin blocks.   Once their blocks were finished, the girls did all of the sewing to complete one quilt.

In the elementary school, many children were involved:  48 children in 1st grade, 34 in 2nd, 25 in 3rd, and 40 in 4th.   We talked to the classes about children who are having some kind of difficulty and need to leave their homes for a time.   Unity House, a shelter in Troy, is a place where there are people who can help them.   After a discussion about what kinds of pictures would help a child feel better, each student drew a picture they felt would cheer up a child.  
With the help of women in my quilt guild, we sewed 24 quilts this year.   These quilts, as well as the one made by the middle school students, were donated to Unity House at the Kids Care Celebration in June.   When a family comes to the shelter for help, each child is given a quilt and a Bridging People and Places teddy bear.   These gifts provide comfort to children who are often confused and frightened.   When they leave the shelter, the quilt and teddy bear go with them.

                                                                                                                                  Ginny Hanby



2009 Artwork Quilt Project

Two beautiful child-sized quilts were crafted by 1st and 2nd graders in the "Helping Hands Club" from Concord Elementary School in Glen Mills, PA.  The children designed and completed fabric squares.  One quilt featured an ocean theme and the other focused on wild animals.  The fabric squares where then sewn into a quilt by a volunteer from Garnet Valley, PA.


2004 Project for Children in the Wilderness, Namibia, Africa

In 2004, Kids Helping Kids in upstate New York created 25 artwork quilts and sent them to an orphanage in Windhoek, Namibia, Africa.  Other groups of youth crafted more than 500 courage and friendship bracelets for the campers in the Children in the Wilderness Program in Namibia, Africa (CITW).  The young woman in the picture is wearing one of the bracelets.

Bridging People and Places provided the Namibian CITW camps with a complete arts and crafts program, including developing a manual and providing all of the supplies for the program.  Two Bridging People and Places volunteers traveled to Africa, at their own expense, and spent three weeks working with the children in the camps and teaching the CITW Safari Guides/Counselors the arts and crafts program.

CITW serves African children from socially disadvantaged rural villages who have been orphaned by AIDS.  For more information on CITW click here.


2004 Volunteer Projects By Children in Capital District

Under the leadership of Ginny Hanby, a retired Tamarac Elementary School teacher, the following Kids Helping Kids projects were completed by children in the Tamarac Elementary School, Rensselaer Elementary School in Lansingburgh, the Tamarac Kids Care Club Grades 6-8, and the Brunswick Church after school program:

     763 children from these groups decorated 1,000 bags for Double H Ranch

     and created artwork blocks for 50 quilts.


     25 of these quilts were sent to Africa; the remaining 25 were given to area shelters for 

     Domestic Violence for use on the beds for children.     

Tamarac Middle School, Brunswick, NY

Eight students from the "Kids Care Club," an after school program lead by Val Dechene, met with Mrs. Hanby and Mrs. Craney, both retired teachers, to learn to quilt.  They students did the drawings, took turns sewing the quilt top, helped layer the quilt, tied it, and made the binding.  The quilt was presented to Bridging People and Places and has been given to the Saratoga Shelter for Domestic Violence. 

Tamarac Elementary School, Brunswick, NY

Mrs. Hanby's First Grade Class and Their "Bear Hugs Project" For Double H Campers

Dressing Bears

Mrs. Hanby's was very involved in our "Kids Helping Kids Bear Hugs Project."  The children learned about Double H Ranch and dressed bears for the campers in sweaters and hats made by Bridging People and Places volunteers.  Many of the sweaters were made by their teacher, Mrs. Hanby. The class filled the teddy bears with hugs to flow out to the children at "The Ranch" and make them smile. 

Dressing Bears and Filling Them With Special Hugs    

"Bear Dens"

When the bears arrive at "The Ranch," they travel to the campers in "Bear Dens," special white handle paper bags decorated by children and carrying positive messages to the campers.  The entire Tamarac Elementary School participated in decorating over 1,000 bags. 


A message to the children who decorated "Bear Dens"...

 "Thank you so much for all that you did on our "Bear Hugs" project.  You did a great job. You may not ever get to meet the children at the Double H Ranch, but please remember this, you have done a wonderful thing that will make many people happy!  Keep volunteering!  You can make a difference in the lives of others!  I am proud of you!"

                                 Mrs. Hanby


"Teddy Bear Day"


Mrs. Hanby's first graders had a special "Teddy Bear Day" to work on decorating their bags and making sponge painted teddy bear shirts. 

 Mrs. Hanby's Class


"The Fabulous Quilt" for Double H Ranch

Every child in Mrs. Hanby's class drew their own block for the quilt.  Each block shows an activity or something special that happens at Double H Ranch.  Mrs. Hanby and several of the moms assembled the quilt.  With great pride, the class presented the "The Fabulous Quilt." The quilt now hangs at Double H for all for the campers to enjoy.


"The Fabulous Quilt!"

is presented to

Hollie Vanderzee


Eileen Minder



Tecler Elementary School, Amsterdam, NY


Dressing Bears for Double H Ranch



Elicia Spagnola's K-2 Special Ed class, Hope DeZolt's kindergarten class, and Jen Porter's 2nd grade class joined with 4th and 5th grade Student Council members to help Bridging People and Places dress and hug bears for Double H.   On "Friendship Day" (Valentine's Day), the children dressed 110 bears and filled them up with lots of hugs and good wishes for the campers.  All of the sweaters and hats used to dress the bears were knit by Joan Sullivan, who has made over 1,000 bear sweaters to date.  Joan helped students dress bears.