Group works to provide stuffed animals to children in traumatic situations


It’s a busy morning for these teens at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Detention facility.

They’re stuffing dogs,cats, bears and other lovable characters, but they’re not doing it alone. They get help from volunteers like Amanda Compton and Jana Auchterlonie.

“Well, I thought it would be a good way to work with these teens and try to influence their life in a positive way,” said Compton.

“I think that it is a great thing for kids to have an opportunity to do something for other people, and I think that that has an impact in multiple ways,” said Auchterlonie.

The ladies, along with Wichita police officer Darren Williams are part of a United Way program where young offenders build stuffed animals to give to children in a traumatic situation.

“If we get involved with a call that said DV, car accident or anything that has to do with a child, where a child may not be happy or maybe they are happy, and you just want to give them a bear,” said Williams.

Officer Williams says creating this comfy critters teaches offenders what volunteering can do for their community.

“This is one of those situations where you come out and work with kids, you know, at one point in time they were a troubled youth and you get to show them things that helps them to give back to other kids,” said Williams.

Some might say it takes a group of hometown heroes to help these young men turned their lives around.

Fortunately, Jana, Amanda and Darren are here for them.

“It makes me feel really good to know that those stuffed animals are going out to kids that possibly are in need of it and make them feel safe.”

“This is a community that gives back and this is the way we take care of each other and it can be so easy and it can take such a small amount of time.”

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