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     Issue 20: September 2013 • Visit Mother Bear Project online at www.motherbearproject.org
News from Mother Bear Project.

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Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Karen
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Mother Bear Betsey
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Mother Bear BJ
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Mother Bear Denise
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Mother Bear Joan
Mother Bear Recipient
Mother Bear May
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Mother Bear Sylvia
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Mother Bear Polly
Featured Mother Bear: The Wyley Family

As many who are involved with Mother Bear Project find out, you do not need to be an expert knitter to contribute to the organization in a meaningful way. The Wyley family of Plymouth, MN are a perfect example of how the entire family has found a way to give together, by supporting the important task of packing boxes of bears to be shipped to children around the world.

Brenda Wyley remembers that in was in fact her son, Oisin, who first became involved with Mother Bear Project as a service project for his confirmation.

"My husband, Shay, went with him to help out," Brenda said. "Both returned with great enthusiasm about the project and its founder Amy. Pretty soon our family of six was bear packing on a regular basis."

The family volunteers at monthly bear packing sessions. Shay builds the boxes, while Brenda and the kids—Oisin, Sean, Michelle and Ronan—help pack the bears.

"They are always amazed that each bear looks so different even though they are all knit from the same pattern," Brenda remarks. "It is the attention to detail in the finishing touches that makes each bear unique: eyes, mouth and additional clothing knit for the bears gives each one a personality."

The kids have become experts at recognizing the different knitter's styles and are delighted when they come across batches of bears from their grandmother, May, in Ireland.

"Not only has she knit hundreds of bears but she got a group of her friends in on it too," Brenda said. "Every time I visit my extended family, I have to pack two extra suitcases to bring back the bears!"

Wyley Family

The family felt particularly connected to Mother Bear Project because they had lived in South Africa for four years, where they saw first-hand the effects of AIDS on families, and how many children were left as orphans.

"Something as simple as a bear, knitted with love, could have such a direct impact on a child, offering comfort and the knowledge that someone overseas cares about them," Brenda said. "My four children were impressed that so many people contributed by putting time and effort into MBP, and felt they too could make a difference.”

Brenda noted that she would like to encourage other families to consider volunteering for Mother Bear Project together as a family activity.

"Everyone can contribute in some fashion, either by knitting or packing bears," she said. "The time commitment can be as little or as much as you want."

"The funny thing about volunteering at MBP is - we as a family get more out of it that we give, it seems. The quality time we've had volunteering over the years has brought us closer in our family bond and given us memories for a lifetime."

If you live in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and are interested in volunteering to pack bears, please email Amy@motherbearproject.org.

Amy's Corner

Dear Friends,

This month as I sent out the 90,000th Mother Bear, it hit me. In about a year from now, we will have sent out 100,000 bears! While this number will be worthy of celebration, I immediately go to the place that says "but we really need at least 14 million!" Instead I would like to focus on celebrating the comfort and love we are in fact sending, one child and one bear at a time.

I will share with you a beautiful story that was sent to me from a Peace Corps Volunteer who distributed our bears and who reminded me of how important the bears really are, and why I keep knitting and sending them.

"I have to say, this was such an amazing thing for the children in my village. They were... overwhelmed and so excited. They were literally "awwwing" as they saw the bears and were giddy. I want to share one story with you also: One of the little girls, around 4-years-old, that is an orphan at my center and who has a very difficult home life, arrived in the morning worn out.

When she was called up to receive her teddy bear, she skipped over with excitement and hesitantly took the bear from me. I believe her hesitation was because she is rarely given anything to call her own, barely even food. She held on to her teddy bear and hugged it and hugged it all the way back to her seat among the excited and antsy children.

A few minutes later, I looked over at her and she was fast asleep sitting up in her chair, clutching tightly to her teddy bear. It gave her such comfort in the moments after receiving it that she was able to sleep, even surrounded by noisy children. It did exactly as it was intended - it soothed her soul.


In turn, it instantly put me at ease because I knew she had something that would provide her comfort and love, even when she doesn't get it at home. I want to say a resounding THANK YOU for this. Your agency is exceptionally special and I will forever be grateful for moments like that one."

Amy red flag