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Please read below the press release on Madison's "Cuddles 4 Kids" initiative:
WINNIPEG-January 14, 2014—School-Aged Cousins Partner with Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and Dollarwise Quality Drycleaners to Bring Stuffed Animals to Kids in Crisis
At 11:30 am on January 14, 2014 Dollarwise Quality Drycleaners will deliver the first load of 140 freshly-cleaned, new and gently-used stuffed animals collected through a new school-based initiative called, “Cuddles 4 Kids” to the Emergency Medical Services station at 235 McPhillips Street (corner of Pacific and McPhillips, enter on McPhillips) to be handed out to children in crisis. Media are invited to attend.
In November, 10-year-old Madison and her mom, Alex approached Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and Dollarwise to help them bring “cuddles” (stuffed animals) to children who are being transported by ambulance or witnessing a loved one as they are taken away to hospital.
“I was reading an article in a magazine about a girl who donated her own stuffed animals to the local fire station. I was inspired to do something. I thought it would be good for the community and the city to pitch in,” says Madison, a fifth grade student at Grosvenor elementary school.
Madison’s school principal, Brad Corbett agrees, “I was not surprised when Madison first approached me with her project Cuddles 4 Kids because she is the kind of student who is always thinking of others and wanting to make a difference in the world. At Grosvenor School, it is our hope that students become leaders for Human Rights. Madison has shown by joining hands with an organization, that even young learners can initiate ideas and take action that will have an impact in their community and beyond. All of us at Grosvenor School are very proud of Madison.”
When Madison told her 13-year-old cousin, Cameron who attends Calvin Christian Collegiate about her idea, he immediately set to work starting the program in his own school, collecting stuffed animals through November. “It’s good if kids who are injured have a stuffed animal to comfort them while they’re in the ambulance,” says Cameron about why he got involved.
The stuffed animals will ride along in city emergency vehicles and be handed out by personnel to provide comfort to children experiencing what can otherwise be a frightening and stressful time.
“The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is proud to have children like Madison and Cam as a part of our community. Unfortunately, we deal with emergencies every day, but when children like Madison and Cam think of others in times of crisis, it’s special to be a part of. We know that these stuffed animals will comfort many children during difficult situations,” says Tristan Klassen, public education coordinator, EMS.