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Simple Gifts Bring Great Joy
U. S. A. | APOSTOLATE | NEWS
Wakefield Challenge Club collects teddy bears for needy children

One of the children with her bear
One of the children with her bear

Wakefield, Rhode Island, Dec. 31, 2010 – A mountain of teddy bears and the smile of grateful children were the reward for the recent hard work of the Wakefield Challenge club.

Challenge is a national club for girls ages 10-16 to help them grow in virtue, friendship and their Catholic faith.  Currently Wakefield, Rhode Island has two teams, one of 5th graders and another of 7th and 8th graders.  The club recently orchestrated activities at their local parish to collect close to 200 bears for the needy children at the McCauley Village in downtown Providence.

Teddy Bear Tea

The girls gathered on December 5, 2010 in Helen Bouchard Hall at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Wakefield, RI.  There they hosted a tea party to collect the teddy bears.  Parishioners and friends streamed in after Mass carrying new and gently
Happy kids with bears
used bears. They were offered refreshments and an opportunity to make personal name tags for their bears. Several children generously offered one or more of their own stuffed animals for the cause. The true spirit of Christmas reigned as each person presented their gift without expecting anything in return.  Children continued to make gifts of their teddy bears during religious education classes that week.

Even the pastor, Fr. Nicholas Smith, contributed a teddy bear, complete with gift basket and trimmings.

After he gave the high school leaders at the school a blessing, one of the students, Kara O’Donnell commented, “Fr. Nick’s vocation for me is so real because of the way that he lives it. I can tell that he lives it with joy.”


Several bears were also dropped off at Monsignor Clarke School collected by Challenge member Callan
Challenge club member Kara O’Donnell with children
Challenge club member Kara O’Donnell with children
O’Neill. She said, “It feels really good to get out there and do something for someone else and to make them smile during the Christmas season. It just doesn’t get better than that!”

Giving Affects the Giver

The nearly 200 bears were collected by Friday, December 10, and brought to McCauley Village to the delight of more than 40 children and their mothers. The Challenge girls played games with the children, and with the oldest children prepared a skit about St. Nicholas.  They sang and danced to Christmas music, played musical chairs, “Duck, Duck Goose” and colored Christmas images.  All enjoyed cookies and juice provided by Challenge families. Only later were the children surprised with the opportunity to select a bear.

Elizabeth Hopkins, a 5th grader said, “When the kids got their teddy bears, I felt as joyful and excited
Group of grateful moms with bears
Group of grateful moms with bears
as they did!"  Even the moms had the chance to pick out a bear.

“We were motivated not just to bring the children gifts of teddy bears and fun games, but above all to try and help them to experience God the Father’s love,” said Regnum Christi consecrated woman Anne Will who helps with the Challenge club. “With that in mind, it became my desire to also bring this experience to the children’s moms.  As the activities went on, however, I felt as if I was the one who came to realize what God the Father’s love really is. 

“Each mom must sacrifice so much for her children, like the one young mom whose baby just had surgery.  Yet the way they looked at their children and spoke of their children was filled with such love and joy that it’s now a little easier to imagine just what it means that God loves us more than even a mother can love her child.”

Challenge Makes Positive Impact

“Challenge is designed to help adolescent girls go out into the world as strong and authentic Catholic role models, where they can make a positive impact,” said Anne. “Challenge’s ‘recipe’ for success is based on the combination of doing apostolic work and formation.”

Teams of friends meet together weekly to learn more about their faith and put it into action through monthly service projects. High school role
teddy bears
models lead the weekly meetings and work together with the girls’ mothers to carry out dynamic team projects that serve their parish, school, the poor and underprivileged, the elderly and sick, their community, their family and their friends.

For more information on the local Wakefield club, contact Renee Pomarico at rpomarico@inteducators.org.  You can also visit the national Challenge website at http://www.challengeclubs.com/.

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PUBLICATION DATE: 2011-01-03


 
 

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.


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