By Beth Brosnan
“You’re making a child’s day and that’s the best thing anybody can ever do—make a child smile,” says Shailee Paliwal, a junior chemical engineering major.
That, in a nutshell, is the mission statement behind “Rowdy Cares With Bears.” Sponsored by UML’s Student Alumni Ambassadors, the four-year-old program collects brand new teddy bears and other stuffed animals and delivers them to young children during the holiday season.
Last year, students distributed over 200 stuffed animals through the Lowell YMCA, Lowell Community Health Center, House of Hope, Lowell General Hospital and the Lowell Police Department.
“This drive allows us to make a positive impact on the lives of many deserving children in the Greater Lowell area and to encourage the spirit of giving throughout the UMass Lowell community,” explains program organizer Ralph Saint Louis, a senior majoring in biology. “This year we’ll also be donating bears to areas stricken by the hurricanes, to many children who have lost everything.”
David Hall, senior manager of philanthropy and volunteer services at Lowell General, knows the difference a bear can make. Children who come to the hospital are often scared and don’t know what to expect, he says.
“So when the first thing they see is a nurse or UML students delivering these bears, it gives them a sense of security. It’s a big thing to know that someone is thinking of them at a time when they need it.”
This year’s teddy bear drive continues through Dec. 4.
On Dec. 1, Student Alumni Ambassadors will be collecting new stuffed animals and cash donations in Fox Hall from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. You can also make cash donations online at GiveCampus.