First graders at Redlands Adventist Academy are ‘bearers of love’
It was all about the joy of giving as members of the first grade class at Redlands Adventist Academy came to Children’s Hospital with stuffed bears, dinosaurs, turtles, and dogs in hand. Teacher Heather Quigley, kneeling behind the children, states that each student chose an animal to donate to the patients of LLUCH, then presented it to the Little Hearts for Big Hearts Guild to brighten the stay of a hospitalized child.
You might say they had “a bear of a time” at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital on Thursday September 20, 2007— that’s the day when 23 first graders from Redlands Adventist Academy descended on the hospital’s lobby with teddy bears in hand.
Actually, only 18 of the students bore bears; the others brought dinosaurs, dogs, and turtles. Regardless of genus or species, the stuffed animals were destined to become the cherished companions of hospitalized children.
As teacher Heather Quigley explains, each student chose a stuffed animal and dressed it however they wanted. Dinosaurs wore hats, bears wore tuxedos or red wigs, and the children wore satisfied smiles that said they were having fun. “The students were very excited about giving these gifts to sick children,” Ms. Quigley notes. “They did their best to dress the animals just the way they would want them to look.”
Once at Loma Linda, the students posed for pictures with their critters before handing them over to Eloise Habekost and Dixie Watkins of the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Guild at Children’s Hospital. “These kids are just wonderful,” Ms. Habekost exclaims. “They really are ‘bearers of love!’”
Dorothy Clark Brooks, bereavement and community education specialist at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, agrees. “We’re very grateful for the generosity of the students from Redlands Adventist Academy,” she says. “The fact that they would create a bear that would be so fun to keep, then pass it on to a child in the hospital is commendable. The patients and their parents have expressed gratefulness for this precious demonstration of kindness.”
Ms. Quigley explains that 2007 marks the fourth year the students have donated the toys as part of childhood cancer awareness month, a joint program of the Children’s Oncology Group and the National Childhood Cancer Foundation. She’s proud to note that her students came up with the “bearers of love” name on their own.
Redlands Adventist Academy is a coeducational day school providing education for students in kindergarten through grade 12.
The school is supported by the Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. as well as by local churches.
By James Ponder