Published on November 21, 2016

In giving, local Girl Scout returns a favor

Girl Scout Brianna Smith and her mother, Anne, made 100 bears for children, and earned Scouting’s Silver Service Award.

Brianna Smith of Four Oaks isn’t afraid of hospitals or doctors. But the 15-year-old Girl Scout is empathetic toward youngsters who find themselves in the emergency department, either needing treatment or accompanying a sick or injured sibling or parent.

So when it came time to choose a project for her Silver Service Award, she asked her moth-er, Anne, to help her make 100 teddy bears, which would be divided between the emergency departments in Smithfield and Clayton.

Anne Smith says she cut out and sewed together the pieces, and Brianna stuffed them with filling. In spite of a disability that limits the use of her hands, Brianna stuck with the project, getting two bears finished every day. They began the project in March, and worked through the summer to get it done.

“She wanted to bring comfort to children,” Smith says. “Emergency departments can be scary places.”

So why bears? In coming up with the idea, Brianna drew upon a personal experience. When she was a toddler, she fell and hit her head, and needed stitches, Smith says. And while being treated in an emergency department at a hospital in Virginia, someone gave her a teddy bear.

“She’s always remembered that,” Smith says.

Daniel Register, director of emergency services, thinks children will appreciate Brianna’s gift. “We all need comfort from time to time,” he says. “That may come through people, or through a stuffed bear made with love.”

Lee Stikeleather, manager of the Clayton ED, likes that Brianna is returning a favor. “Their story was touching, and I think her gift will bring comfort in difficult and stressful times,” he says. “We’re so pleased that she chose our hospitals for her project.”