Friday, April 30, 1999

Fairfield school sends Littleton bears and prayers




BY RANDY McNUTT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[teddy bears]
Students at Cincinnati Christian Schools, from left: Kevin Kraft, Cody Mazuk, Mark Anthony; (rear) Holli Parks, Jon Wedaman, Emily Bird.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
        FAIRFIELD — By Thursday morning, a family of bears had taken over the office at Cincinnati Christian Schools. Tan bears, gray bears, white bears, black bears, orange bears — even bears in bib overalls or white lace dresses.

        Students have been bringing them in for days as donations for “Bear the Burden Campaign,” a cooperative project with First Baptist Church of Mount Healthy.

        About 200 new teddy bears will be sent to students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., to offer support and encouragement during a bleak time.

        “Somebody has to help,” said Natalie Lotspeich, a North College Hill resident who attends the church and had the idea. “The children can express their feelings. They've written notes to the kids in Colorado, offering prayer. Many of the notes are from the heart.”

        On Thursday night, volunteers were to pack the bears in boxes and prepare to send them to Columbine, scene of 15 shooting deaths.

        The incident has moved Cincinnati Christian's students, grades kindergarten through 12.

        One child wrote on a note: “Love bears all things. — 1 Corinthians, 13:7.”

        In a note with her bear, third- grader Amanda Rose Luther wrote: “I pray that God gives you the strength to pick yourself up and go on with your life like you had planned.”

        Fifth-grader Aaron Parker wrote: “I have seen bad things on the news, but this was extreme. My school and I have been praying for your school. You guys will get out of this as long as you keep faith in God.”

        Development coordinator Sherry Wilkerson said the school and its 380 students has had overwhelming participation. “We've gotten calls from all over town,” she said. “The bears are all over the place. The most moving part is the notes, and knowing students really care.”

Schools see rash of incidents
Latest updates on school shootings from Associated Press



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