Because We Care Community Programs
Because We Care Foundation offers multiple community programs to further our goal to foster positive relationships and interactions between our fire, police, and EMS departments and the children and families of the communities they serve. Over $161,000 in funds administered by the Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation has been utilized to support our programs. The success and funding of our programs would not be possible without the generous support of our local communities and our donors.
Teddy Bear Distribution
Because We Care facilitates positive interactions between first responder’s and children in our communities by providing personalized teddy bears to law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and emergency medical services to distribute to children they encounter on the scene of an incident or traumatic event. Unfortunately, traumatic events such as accidents, house fires, storms, violence, and medical emergencies involve children daily. Our bears give them the ability to provide comfort to children when they are feeling the most vulnerable.
Children need reassurance and comfort during traumatic events. Parents and caregivers may not be able to speak to the child during an event which can create additional anxiety for them at this time. However, the healing and comfort that comes with physical touch can be provided with our teddy bears. Our emergency responders such as police officers, fire fighters, and medical personnel handle some of the worst events in life with strength and courage. It is especially difficult for them when children are involved. They can feel helpless and unsure of how to comfort a child during these traumatic events. The BWC bears not only provide comfort and calmness to the child but also provide a means for emergency personnel to feel useful in bringing that consolation to them while their traumatic situation is being resolved. In some instances, children can be fearful of first responders. The BWC Foundation also facilitates positive in-person interaction between child and first responder to help bridge the gap and create a positive relationship that lessens the child(ren)’s fears.
If you are a member of an emergency department and wish to participate in the BWC Teddy Bear program, or a community member who feels a local emergency department could benefit from the BWC Teddy Bear program please contact us through our online form or call us at 814-515-3472.
Pizza With a Purpose
The Pizza With a Purpose program is designed to help lessen a child’s fears of law enforcement officers, fire fighters, or EMS personnel. Unfortunately, children can have negative experiences in their early formable years with local emergency personnel. The reason for the negative experience can be for multiple reasons such as being a victim of a traumatic event, being pre-conditioned by a caregiver who is involved with illegal activities, witnessing a loved one being arrested, etc. Children are unable to comprehend these types of complex situations and typically only recall the pain, hurt, or fear they felt in these situations and therefore create a limited, unrealistic view of police, fire, and EMS personnel. If a child is fearful of the people who dedicate their lives to assist them, they could potentially put themselves at risk by not reaching out in an emergency or harmful situation. We feel it is important to these children to assist them in overcoming their fear and apprehension of emergency personnel and promote their healing process through fostering a positive relationship between them.
We have developed a program to assist this process by arranging a personal interaction between the child(ren) and police, fire, or EMS departments. We arrange a private interaction that involves sharing pizza with members of the department, possibly a tour of the facilities and apparatus, and sometimes a special gift from the department for the child(ren). This gives child(ren) an opportunity to see these members of our emergency forces in a less chaotic, and threatening environment. They come to understand they are there to provide assistance and their fears are lessened. It is a win-win situation for the child(ren) and for the emergency personnel they may encounter again in an emergency.
If you know of a child, or children, that experiences fear of your community’s emergency personnel and can benefit from the Pizza With a Purpose program please fill out our online form and we will work to make arrangements for a personal interaction for the child(ren).
BWC Bear Sightings
Chance the BWC Bear loves our law enforcement, fire fighters, and EMS workers and the children of our community and enjoys the opportunity to bring them together. He likes it when all his friends get along. Children, and adults, are drawn to his warm, fuzzy fur and sometimes silly behavior. Chance enjoys attending community events in the hopes of making new friends. He also enjoys hugs, belly scratches, and making children smile. Chance helps foster positive interactions with our emergency personnel and the children by showing them there is nothing to be afraid of.
If you would like to invite Chance the BWC Bear to your next event, please contact us for availability and additional program details.
First Responder Assistance
Our first responders show strength and resolve during emergency situations. They are the ones we count on to provide relief, calm, and assistance when we are feeling vulnerable and fearful. While we view our first responders as invincible, unfortunately they are not immune to tragedy in their own lives. Some of these tragedies can be related to their job as they put themselves at risk daily. We often think of them as heroes, but they are human and susceptible to the same issues that effect many in our community such as accidents, fires, medical emergencies, and illnesses.
Because We Care Foundation has created a program that offers assistance to local first responders and their families of our partnership organizations in the Central Pennsylvania region. We provide donations and fundraising to assist with the financial burden associated with a tragedy, medical emergency, or illness. If you are a first responder, or know of a first responder, of one of our partnership organizations that can benefit from our First Responder Assistance program please contact us.
Each year Because We Care foundation awards two Blair County seniors with a $500 scholarship. The senior must reside in Blair County and major in either criminal justice or early childhood development. All seniors are to contact their guidance counselors at their local school to receive a scholarship packet to apply. If the senior is either homeschooled or cyber, please contact the Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation for a scholarship packet at 814-944-6102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org