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Teddy bears handmade by Waterbury middle schoolers delivered to fire department

West Side Middle School students made teddy bears for fire victims.

WATERBURY, Conn. — Waterbury firefighters got a visit from West Side Middle School students on Thursday morning, each with a special delivery in hand. The students made teddy bears for fire and trauma victims. 

“I put all my love when I was making the teddy bears and I felt so nice making them," said Genesis Garcia, an 8th grader at West Side Middle School in Waterbury. 

Garcia and her classmates made around 60 teddy bears in their family consumer science class. All the materials were donated by community members.

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The idea came from the school's Spanish teacher, Erin Holmes.

"I was getting frustrated with my students and the me, me, me, now, now, now, with the social media, TikTok stuff that was going on in the fall," Holmes said.

So, she began by doing "acts of kindness" in her classroom. Then, she paired up with other teachers and came up with the idea for the kids to make the teddy bears and donate them to the Waterbury Fire Department.

“They really got on board, a lot of these kids, and they understand that they’re helping somebody, you know, as bad as things may be for you, there’s always somebody who’s worse off," Holmes said.

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And the fire department could use the help, they're responding to many different traumatic calls on a daily basis. 

“Any different avenue, it doesn’t have to be a structure fire. It could be an accident, it could be a medical issue with a close relative, so there’s a need for it," said Chief Terrence Ballou with the Waterbury Fire Department.

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The students plan on making more teddy bears throughout the school year. Holmes said she hopes it becomes a tradition of theirs each year.

"I think a lot of the students voiced to me that they were helped in some way when they were younger by various assets of this community so, they felt that they believe that this was their way of giving back to a community that had helped them prior in their lives," said Peter McCasland, Principal at West Side Middle School. 

Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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