Stuffed with love: Detroit school children build bears for at-risk children

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Schulze Academy was full of cheer on Tuesday morning as hundreds of students built bears for children in need.

The Detroit school teamed up with the group “Kidz Give Back” to organizer a service opportunity. Thanks to grants obtained by the non-profit, students were able to spend time putting together presents that will eventually be donated to a handful of organizations in the metro Detroit area.

“Seeing their faces when they see they’re helping other kids, it’s great,” said Layla Wofsi, one of the people behind the non-profit that was involved. “They’ve never had that feeling of empower, but now they get to receive this feeling and it’s the best thing ever.”

The idea for the group came from when the two Wofsi sisters were growing up. On their birthdays they would go to Build a Bear Workshop and create two stuffed animals for underprivileged children. Eventually it grew into a charity where in the past few years alone thousands of stuffed animals have been donated to at-risk children.

The group is based in Connecticut, but the family travels to various cities to work with kids teaching them to help give back.

Sergeant Kyla Williams, a member of the Special Victims Unit with the Detroit Police Department, was on-hand for Tuesday’s event at Schulze Academy. She told 7 Action News that she was blown away by the dedication the children put into the donation.

A portion of the bears created by the children will go to abuse, and sexual abuse, that Williams cares for. She said that stuffed animals are regularly a go-to gift for kids who are looking for comfort after a tough situation.

“A lot of them choose stuffed animals and the first thing they do is run up to and huge them,” said Sgt. Williams. “They’re cuddly. They’re warm and fuzzy, and they like that. It’s all a part of love. They just want to be loved.”

Each of the children who built the bears on Tuesday also created a hand written note for the recipient of the bear.

Those involved say those notes are meaningful to the children who will receive the bear, showing the recipients that another child is thinking about them.

For more information about the nonprofit Kidz Give Back, or the “Stuffed With Love” campaign you can visit the group’s website: http://kidzgiveback.org/

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