Through donations and sales, Penny
Bears and our Penny Bear's Gift of Love books have
been provided for Hospice organizations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
New York, and Florida, where they help staff members and volunteers
offer a special hug for patients and families in their care. Penny
Bears and our books are also used in Hospice-sponsored children's
bereavement programs and camp experiences.
provide Penny Bears, as well as writing journals and activity books
created by illustrator Michiko
Eager, to shelters
in Massachusetts and Florida. To complete the circle of giving,
families and individuals living in the shelters decorate carrying
bags given with Penny Bears to others in need.
Living & Nursing Home Residences
Participating in hands-on projects with our bears enables
otherwise healthy senior residents and the memory impaired discover a continuing sense of purpose by helping us lift the
spirits of others
Community Outreach Programs
Therapists and counselors use Penny Bears with their clients to
encourage self-esteem, offer hope following tragedy, and to help
develop trust in themselves and others.
Family members, friends and neighbors, ministers, doctors, teachers,
classmates, emergency responders, and sometimes anonymous, caring
people provide Penny Bears to help individuals and families in crisis
as a way to show they care. A bear's gentle presence helps ease
fear and offers the promise of hope.
Our Circles of Hope outreach program offer encouragement for those whose lives have been touched by cancer,
Parkinson's disease, caregiving responsiblities , or who are moving through a time of bereavement. click
here for more information.
The Penny Bear Friendship Club school program was created
to promote respect, kindness, and the importance of building meaningful
friendships among people of all ages. What began as a true-life
act of kindness by a small boy, coupled with a young girl's bereavement
journey following the loss of an adult friend, has become a wonderful
teaching and healing tool. For more information, see below.
School, Scouting and religious classes learn how to help others
through what is often a first volunteering experience.
We welcome adults and young people challenged with learning disabilities
and other special needs.
We have encouraged families as they courageously struggle with turning
tragic personal losses into healing outreach and awareness. Our
"Hunter Bear" is an example of a Marblehead family trying
to create some kind of meaning out of an automobile tragedy that
took the life of their son. Along with a committed group of local
high school students and his family, we are partnered in a safe-driving-awareness
program at our local high school. Please click
here to learn more about his and other
special family stories.
Camps for Critically Ill Children
Providing Penny Bears and writing journals writing journals
has been challenging, rewarding experiences for our volunteers.
We have offered critically and emotionally
ill or grieving children in New York, Maine, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, North Carolina and Florida have received one of the
best kinds of medicine
love and a smile wrapped in a bear hug.
Our most challenging
opportunity spanned a three-year period, when our bears and
illustrated personal writing journals helped thousands of
children attending actor Paul Newman and Charles Woods' Double
"H" Hole in the Woods Ranch in New York State. Our
successful and positive multi-state volunteer effort has been
transitioned to our former camp laision, who lives in New
York and who was a member of the camp's volunteer nursing
staff. She has now expanded our original concept and created
her own very similar projects on behalf of "Double H"
Raising Awareness and Supporting Families
We are honored that our Penny Bears are used
as opportunities to encourage people who struggle with difficult
challenges to heal themselves and to create hope for others. The
following programs are a brief example of the wide-ranging ways we have helped individuals and other organizations.
many saddened communities we have helped over the years, Penny
Bears were sent to families following the Columbine High School
tragedy in Littleton, Colorado, the September 11, 2001 terrorist
attacks in New York, in the aftermath of hurricanes Wilma, Katrina
and Rita, and after the coal mine tragedies in West Virginia.
a Penny Bear "Kids-Walking-for-Kids" walkathon fundraiser
to help the New England Medical Center's Floating Hospital for Children
in Boston, MA purchase new play equipment and staff the pediatric
oncology/hematology play room
a neighboring community's "Seeds of Hope" meals and sheltering
program to raise awareness about people who are homeless, hungry
a young local friend in his dedicated effort to raise research funds
and educate people about Marfan Syndrome in memory of his younger
sister, who died at age four from complications of the connective
tissue disorder. (www.marfan.org).
partnership with the volunteer "Hope for Haiti" program
in Naples, FL, we have donated hundreds of bears to an orphanage in Haiti.
with staff members in creating the "Hug-a-Bear Club" at
Youville Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, Cambridge, MA - a program
designed to provide emotional support for children whose family
member has cancer and is a patient in the hospital's oncology unit.
The program's purpose is to facilitate communication between a patient/family
member and their child/children about dealing with the uncertainties,
hopes and fears that arise as the course of the adult's illness
Penny Bears and books to Ryan's Place, a nonprofit grief center
that provides emotional support for grieving children, teens, young
adults and their families in Goshen, Indiana
Fund" - an organization founded by two young mothers to help
families of children undergoing cardiac treatments at The New England
Medical Center Floating Hospital for Children, Boston, MA. We provided
journals, activity books, and centerpiece bears for fundraising
in a special activities workshop for the S.O.F.T. organization
(Support Organization For Trisomy 18,
13 and other related chromosomal disorders). S.O.F.T. is a nonprofit
volunteer organization offering support for parents who have a child
with this particular chromosome disorder, and education to families
and professionals interested in the care of these children.(http://www.trisomy.org)
MS Home - Collier County, FL - an organization started by two young
mothers living with Multiple Sclerosis that is dedicated to filling
the needs and improving the quality of life of families affected
by an MS diagnosis
Project HELP, Naples, FL Crisis center hotline and bereavement support
groups for people coping with all phases of complicated loss (murder,
Penny Bears have helped participants in rehabilitation programs
for stroke patients.
The Penny Bear Friendship
Bear Friendship Club school program was created to promote respect,
kindness, and the importance of building meaningful friendships among
people of all ages. What began as a true-life act of kindness by a small
boy, coupled with a young girl's bereavement journey following the loss
of an adult friend, has become a wonderful teaching and healing tool.
6-year-old Emery (on the left in the photo) remembers how alone and
afraid he felt his first few days at school and during the after-hours activities he also remembers the big,
welcoming, reassuring hug he received from another child in the
his new friend, Thadius
(on the right).
to share with other children and adults just how much that initial
act of friendship meant was the catalyst for Emery's mother to help
her son write about the importance of showing kindness to one another.
As she wrote his words down in story form, Emery drew illustrations...
and together they presented Emery and Thadius and the Big Hug to his kindergarten teacher.
When the story
was shown to Penny Wigglesworth, she decided it would be used as part
of a new friendship campaign that the Penny Bear Company could begin in
local elementary schools. It is at this point that the true personal experiences
of two unrelated children converged into the creation of The Penny
Bear Friendship Club.
student Shayna Fratini (second from left in photo) was very sad when
her best adult friend, Caroline Ross,died. (Caroline's picture appears
in the Circle of Hope page.) Although not related through
family ties, Shayna and Caroline were as close as an aunt and niece
would be! Caroline's husband gave Shayna the Penny Bear that had been
Caroline's companion during her final illness. Shayna took the bear
to her school classroom and explained what had happened to her friend,
and how it made her feel.
Penny Wigglesworth combined
the impact of both Emery and Shana's
stories, and together with Shana and her mother (and a basket of
Penny Bears and pledge sheets), they began introducing the Penny
Bear Friendship Club to other elementary school classes.
The children each prepare a bear, make a greeting card,
and decorate a paper carrying bag. The finished bears are then donated
to ill children in hospitals.
At the end of the activity, the children
read a friendship pledge together and receive honorary membership
cards in the Penny Bear Friendship Club. Each
class is given a Friendship Penny Bear to keep in their classroom
as a reminder of how the students can make positive choices about
how to treat one another.
The Penny Bear Company
c/o Penny Wigglesworth
114 Moorings Park Drive, A-308
Naples, FL 34105
Webmaster: Annie Clifford
Clifford Web and Video Services
3 Park Lane, Marblehead, MA 01945