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Kindergarteners donate 115 stuffed animals for Children’s of Alabama

Every year the classes at West Elementary School band together and partake in grade-wide service projects that benefit the community or individuals in some way. This year kindergarteners used their service project to brighten the lives of other children – and a local meteorologist.

Their service project, “Brody’s Bears,” was three-fold: help patients at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham; recognize February as Heart Awareness Month; and support local meteorologist Jason Simpson, whose son started experiencing heart problems at birth.

“Our administration asked each grade to come up with a service project. They challenged us to make it something that was meaningful to our kids and that they could be involved in,” kindergarten teacher Jennifer Cox said.

They decided to collect stuffed animals and donate them on behalf of Simpson’s son Brody.

“This gave us a name to help students relate to. We also liked the idea of them being able to ‘give’ the bears to Brody’s dad,” Cox said.

Feb. 5 Simpson arrived at WES unaware what was about to happen. He was scheduled to read to the kindergarten classes and talk about meteorology, like he does every year – but when he arrived, he was greeted with the surprise. A group of kindergarteners walked out parading a red banner that stated Bears 4 Brody: Show Me Your Brave.

“We had conversations with our students about how they would feel if they had to be at the hospital a lot. We talked about how it might make you scared or sad and how a teddy bear might make you feel better. After all this we had our project – Bears for Brody,” Cox said.

Students and faculty wore red in honor of Heart Awareness Month. Additionally, almost everyone was also wearing a hat of some kind for Kruzn for a Cure Foundation Hat Day, which helped raise money for Kruz Davenport, who was scheduled to have a stem cell transplant Feb. 5.

Simpson said he was blown away by the students’ thoughtfulness and donation.

“You guys have really made my day. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it,” Simpson said. “I love coming to Russellville. Everyone here has such a big heart.”

A total of 115 stuffed animals were collected, which Simpson later took to the children’s hospital himself.