Syracuse University student starts Teddy Bears for Hope to aid children in need of comfort
Syracuse University student starts Teddy Bears for Hope to aid children in need of comfortDecember 13, 2006Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
Many people can recall a special teddy bear or stuffed animal from their childhood that was a reliable source of comfort and security. For many children, however, especially those who have experienced sudden devastation such as Hurricane Katrina, or constant hardship like the children in the Darfur region of Sudan who have nothing but the clothes on their back, comfort doesn’t come easy in times when it’s needed most.
Realizing how little some children have and the suffering they endure each day, Adam Sternbach, a first-year sport management major in Syracuse University’s College of Human Services and Health Professions, was compelled to start Teddy Bears for Hope this past summer as a way to bring comfort and hope into these children’s lives. Teddy Bears for Hope is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that provides brand new teddy bears to children around the world whose lives have been ravaged by tragedy, homelessness, poverty or disease.
So far, 35 teddy bears have been sent to Sudan and 30 have been sent to the Syracuse Red Cross. Another 55 will be distributed in the Syracuse area around the holiday season in collaboration with SU’s Holiday Sharing Program. There are also plans to distribute teddy bears to children’s hospitals and orphanages in the United States and around the world.
“The very first steps in forming my organization were pretty basic,” says Sternbach, who came to SU from Marlboro, N.J. “I had to find a wholesale teddy bear manufacturer and some locations to distribute the teddy bears. Once I did this, I filed the necessary paperwork with the state and the IRS, opened my website, and began the day-to-day operations.”
The teddy bears are purchased from a manufacturer in California. According to Sternbach, teddy bears are delivered in two basic ways. For domestic distribution, the teddy bears are sent directly from the manufacturer to the place of distribution; members of the staff at the given organization then hand out the bears to children. If the teddy bears are going internationally, they are sent from the manufacturer to a different charity or organization with which Teddy Bears for Hope partners; they are then transported overseas by the organization and distributed by its staff once they are on the ground in the other countries.
Sternbach is able to manage the operations from pretty much any location, including his residence hall on campus. “While I was starting Teddy Bears for Hope during the summer, everything was run from Marlboro,” he says. “My family helps me with different tasks because a lot of the mail concerning Teddy Bears for Hope gets sent to Marlboro and I need them to communicate with me while I am in school.”
Now that Teddy Bears for Hope is a recognized charitable organization, Sternbach says that marketing and fundraising are the two greatest areas on which he will focus in order to partner with new groups and encourage contributions that will support the continued distribution of teddy bears.
“My hope while in school is to grow the organization and try to make other students aware of the benefits associated with giving to others,” says Sternbach. “I also want to form some partnerships with corporations with the hope of benefiting children in the areas that they do business. Teddy Bears for Hope is my attempt to try to make a positive difference for children in need of hope around the world.”
Outside of running Teddy Bears for Hope, Sternbach has professional interests in corporate law/sport law and hopes to continue his education in pursuit of an M.B.A., law degree or both. As a first-year student in HSHP, Sternbach is involved with all the Sport Management Program clubs and extra-curricular activities, including the Sport Management Club; Syner-Cuse, the partnership between sport management students and the Department of Athletics to enhance the marketing of SU’s Olympic sports teams; and Steiner Sports Collectibles, the collaboration involving sports memorabilia and marketing company Steiner Sports Marketing, the Department of Athletics and the Department of Sport Management. Coming to SU having already earned several college credits, he aims to graduate in three years and become the second SU graduate in his family, joining his mother, Donna, who graduated in 1976.
“Adam works hard on whatever projects he undertakes,” says Carol Roy, director of academic advising in HSHP. “In addition to starting his own charitable organization, he’s a talented student who is involved with all aspects of the Sport Management Club. Although only in his first year, he’s already giving back to Syracuse University and the greater community.”
For more information on Teddy Bears for Hope, visit http://www.teddybearsforhope.org.