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Kindergartners at Williamsburg Christian Academy went on a field trip to the Build-A-Bear Outlet Workshop on Friday to make new furry friends – not for themselves, but for children served by the Avalon center for families experiencing domestic violence.
Staci Lanier, a kindergarten teacher at WCA, said she came up with the idea to take her students on a field trip to Build-A-Bear after she and her son visited the store when it first opened, but said fellow kindergarten teacher Kathy Watson suggested turning the visit into a service project and donating the bears to Avalon.
Lanier said parents of the kindergartners donated enough money for all 22 students to make one teddy bear as well as an additional seven bears. She said Build-A-Bear donated T-shirts for the bears and employees were so moved by the students’ willingness to make and give away teddy bears, they donated a bear to the cause.
She said Priscilla Caldwell, director of development and communications at Avalon, told the students the bears would help children who come to the center with few possessions. The center offers a variety of services, including emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy and a 24-hour crisis line to women and children in Greater Williamsburg who are victims of domestic violence.
“Avalon relies on the generosity and involvement of the community to provide a safe haven and support to those experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault,” Caldwell wrote in an email to WYDaily. “These bears will give the children of Avalon a message of hope and support from the community for a better future.”
The field trip was the culmination of a weeklong lesson on wants and needs, Lanier said, the ultimate takeaway being “we have so much that we want that we wanted to give something to someone else.”
“It was such a blessing from God with our students and how they so freely gave to others,” Lanier said. “It brought me to tears watching it.”