How one stuffed animal can make a difference

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SAULT STE. MARIE: In a heartwarming story Algoma University Gramma’s and Grampa’s connect with students through the power of a stuffed animal. When times are tough and some resident students are unable to fly back home and are currently grounded at the university. How does one connect emotionally, when they’re loved ones are so far away?

The Teddy Bear Drive came to light to give students comfort while being separated from their homes. When asking some of the Gramma’s and Grampa’s where they got the inspiration from, here are their thoughts;

“The inspiration came from when I attended the residential school and all the emotions and fears I went through:  confusion, fear, loneliness, not being able to protect my younger sister in a different part of the building, heartbreak, isolated, missing my family life and so many other scary things.  Later on in life when I looked back at that scenario I thought, what a difference it would have been if we all had teddy bears on our beds when we arrived.  It’s amazing how things are playing out to almost the same scenarios with the AU students and it is a chance to make a big difference in a small way on our part because we’ve been there.  We had to accept a new norm and adapt the best way we knew how.  We are still here to witness another new world, adapt and share our resiliency.  Dream differently!” said, Jackie Fletcher, Gramma.

“Well it all started with Covid-19 virus, and when we realized some of the international students were going to be stuck, for I don’t know how long. This brought me back to the days when I was at the university and I thought it would have been nice if we were to have had something, in times of missing our families, that could be a doll or stuffie for comfort. We thought by giving them a little comfort would help, because we understand what it’s like to be isolated. We went through this 50 years ago. We hope the students find comfort in the furry babies, hug them when they can’t get hugs from their parents, family and other fellow students.” said, Irene Barbeau, Gramma.

Thank you Elizabeth Edgar-Webkamigad  from Algoma University for taking the time to talk to our team and enlightening us on this truly touching story.