Cuddly comfort goes a long way - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cuddly comfort goes a long way

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September 22, 2004

Thomasville - A normal activity for any four year old, playing with a stuffed animal. But for children who have become victim's through no fault of their own, the cuddly bears can be more of a necessity than a desire.

"When children come up here, we like to give them a bear. Most often, they're victims of crime. They might be with their parent who is upset and we just give everyone of them a bear," says Karen Bishop, the victim's advocate for the District Attorney's office in Thomasville. She says the stuffed animals help ease children's pain when they're being questioned or prepared for a trial.

Bishop says, "When you hold something and cuddle something as cute as these bears in here, it comforts the kids." And sometimes, the bears help comfort grown up kids. "Believe it or not," says Bishop, "there's many an adult that comes up here and they like to take one home too."

And even though the bears may one day remind the children of the difficult experience they've gone through. Bishop says, "We've had kids in the past say, 'oh I still have my bear, Ms. Karen, I keep it on my bed.'" Every time they see it, Bishop hopes it will remind them that they were the innocent victim and that somewhere, there is someone who truly cares for them.

Most law enforcement agencies, and District Attorney's offices give out stuffed animals to children and even adults at crime scenes, car wrecks and fires. If you would like to contribute, you can bring new stuffed animals to your local agency.

posted at 2:56 PM by karen.collier@walb.com