When I was a child, my favorite toy was a hand-me-down teddy bear. He was missing an eye, his arm was loose and patches of his fur had worn off, but he was soft, he was cuddly and he was mine.
There can be something healing about holding a teddy bear, and that's why the Monte Vista High School Men's Lacrosse Varsity and Junior Varsity teams worked together to donate 100 teddy bears to the Center for Child Protection at Children's Hospital in Oakland. CCP, which handles all types of child abuse cases, provides therapy for children and their families.
These teddies are wearing something with a special message -- T-shirts that say "Family," replicas of the lacrosse shirts worn by the players. The bears were donated by Bank of the West, and players raised the funds for the shirts.
In all, 49 young men ages 14-18 are on the two lacrosse teams. On May 4, they visited Children's Hospital to deliver the bears and meet with Shelley Hamilton, CCP's manager, and James Crawford, MD. The boys were given an overview of the program and tour of the department, including the therapy garden.
"Ms. Hamilton and Dr. Crawford informed the boys in a touching but realistic manner of the need for help for these children and families," said team parent Kathy Tabor in an email.
When I talked to Kathy, I asked her how the team learned about CCP. She said one of the moms, Catherine Dieterich, is a volunteer at Children's Hospital.
"We thought it would be a great way to bring a little more awareness to the Center for Child Protection," Kathy said, "and it would help kids who don't have the same advantages as these kids. It's the spirit we have on the team that we wanted to share with others."
Each of the MVHS lacrosse teams had a winning season, with junior varsity, coached by Rob Bonham, finishing with a 17-3 record, and the varsity team, coached by Ted Spencer and Forry Smith, at 14-6. Going into the North Coast Section playoff series, MVHS varsity is seeded second, thus earning a bye in the first round. If they win their quarterfinal and semifinal games, they would play in the final on Friday or Saturday, Kathy said.
The teddy bears will be given out at Camp CCP, a summer day camp with group psychotherapy support for children and teens affected by abuse and/or exposure to violence.
"It was eye-opening for our kids to hear about some of these cases," Kathy said. "The MVHS lacrosse 'family' hopes the bears will bring the children comfort and a feeling of safety ... something that comes with being part of a family."
THE GARDEN: Growing sustainable organic vegetables is what The Bounty Garden in Danville is all about. In a corner of Hap Magee Ranch Park, the garden grows vegetables for the local Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.
Volunteers sign up to grow vegetables during one of three growing seasons and are invited to attend seminars on such things as how to compost, sprout seedlings and properly harvest.
Contact Georgia Lambert at around- firstname.lastname@example.org.