Teachers, families, and community members have sponsored a record 750 plus students through the Connecticut Education Foundation’s Holiday Bear Project this year. “The outpouring of support is just remarkable,” says CEF President and CEA Vice President Joslyn DeLancey.
Through Holiday Bear, students who otherwise wouldn’t receive gifts during the holidays are nominated by their teachers—and sponsors across the state step up to purchase a bag full of gifts for each child. Right now, gifts are being collected from sponsors and transported to families who really appreciate the project which exemplifies the giving spirit of the holidays.
CREC Education Association President and kindergarten teacher Lisa Cordova helps coordinate the Holiday Bear Project at her school. Several students she knows were nominated to receive gifts, and parents have been coming in to collect the big blue bags full of presents.
“I had a family come in, and I was able to give them bags with gifts for all three of their children,” Cordova says. “The mom started crying—she was so happy. She said that, without Holiday Bear, their family wouldn’t have had many presents for Christmas this year because of their money situation.”
Cordova says the younger children in the family don’t know about the bags, but the eldest child, who is in middle school, does. “He came up and gave me the biggest hug. He was so happy to be included in the bags.”
You can donate to support the Holiday Bear Project year round. Click here, select the Become A Sponsor button, and choose Monetary Donation.
“We’re so happy to be able to help,” says Wallingford Education Association President Anne Varrone-Lederle. In Wallingford, many teachers and their families sponsored children this year.
Watch below to see Wallingford’s support for Holiday Bear.
“Here in Wallingford we really believe in the spirit of the season, and we have very generous teachers who are happy to be able to help other students in our state,” Varrone-Lederle says. “When you can help students have a more joyous holiday season, it’s really important.”
“I can’t thank the people who support this project enough,” DeLancey says. “I want to give a particular shout out to Avon who sponsored over 100 students and to Westport who sponsored close to 200 students.”
She continues, “To every kid and family who has helped support the project and to every teacher and school district who’s really put their heart and soul into making sure that kids have a positive holiday season—thank you so much.”