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Operation Teddy Bear

Part II

In March of this year, Community Guidance Center worked with local jeweler Luxenberg's Jewelers to purchase teddy bears born to raise monies for the Teddy Bear Fund Drive. Wanting to pay it forward, CGC took those newly purchased teddy bears and donated them to the Indiana Borough Police Department and Justice Works Youth Care of Indian County. Both organizations agreed area children would welcome the teddy bears with open arms.

Following the great success of our original donation, CGC wanted to spread more teddy bear joy to another county we proudly serve. Keep the good vibes going. Once again, we looked to Luxenberg's Jewelers to secure our teddy bears and set off to find another organization that would find a worthy home for each of our teddys. Boy, we found the perfect recipient in the Child Advocacy Center of Clearfield County.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Clearfield County (like me), this agency does such extraordinary work. The CAC is "a safe place for kids who may be in an abusive situation. The center brings together a team of specially trained professionals who evaluate and investigate cases of child abuse and help children and their families throughout the investigative process."

Mary E. Tatum, DPA, ACFI, CAC/MDIT Director, was our tour guide on the donation day. She carefully and thoughtfully described their services as we walked from room to room in the small, house-turned-office. CAC kept the retro décor to remind visitors it was a safe environment (like grandma's house). I remember thinking how sad it was that we actually needed these types of services. Then the more I listened, the more I understood. Thankfully, people like Mary choose to advocate for the smallest of victims, who often don't have a voice.

Near the end of our tour, Mary introduced us to another team member on site that day. Kirby is a Labrador retriever trained as a therapy dog and was so excited to see us! Kirby was off-duty then, so he was free to just "dog" around us. Cuteness overload!

Mary slipped his service vest on, and instantly, Kirby transitioned into work mode. Kirby's job is to help the kids feel less stressed and relaxed. At Mary's command, Kirby will even fetch a toy for the child. The teddy bears will now be part of the toy collection that Kirby can share with the kids. Another win-win in paying it forward.

Thank you, Mary, Kirby, and the CAC team, for everything you do. You all make a tremendous difference in our community! We know you'll take good care of the teddys until each one has a new home.

If you'd like to know more about the Child Advocacy Center of Clearfield County, contact the center at 814-768-3155 or email

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