Blugold lends a helping paw through 'Teddy Bear Clinic'

| Lucy Grogan-Ripp

On any given day, Blugolds can be seen lending a helping hand throughout the community. One Blugold, however, is adding her own twist to service by lending a helping paw.

Breana Prock, a senior business administration major, is teaming up with a local hospital for her service-learning project to conduct what they are calling a “Teddy Bear Clinic.”

In 2014 the Teddy Bear Clinic was jump-started by an urgent-care facility known as MedExpress, as a means to help children feel safe and comfortable while visiting the doctor.

On the culmination of the program, MedExpress has stated, “From the unfamiliar faces of nurses to the fear of shots, it’s no wonder why so many youngsters kick and scream their way through the doctor’s office. That’s why a group of MedExpress employees and a stuffed teddy bear began visiting day cares, schools and libraries to educate young children about healthy habits, what it’s like to visit a health care professional when they’re sick or hurt, and to serve as a healthy reminder that there is nothing to fear.”

As for Prock, her involvement with the project began when the public relations coordinator for Marshfield Clinic, Matthew Schneider, invited her to join the project.

“This opportunity was brought to me by Mr. Schneider because he knew my passion for public relations and helping people. The Teddy Bear Clinic was something that he had always wanted to do, and he asked if I would be willing to participate in this service opportunity with him,” Prock said.

As part of the public relations team, Prock is responsible for a variety of vital tasks. A typical day on the job includes planning events, contacting doctors and other hospital staff, and creating advertising and promotional artifacts to raise awareness and spread the word.

Prock has noted that while the community need being addressed through her project may not seem like a big one, it is a crucial one.

“No parent wants to see their child scared and uncomfortable, especially in a place where they should feel safe,” Prock reflected. “Knowing that I will be helping children and their parents has left a big impact; knowing that I am helping to make a difference in other people’s lives is a great feeling.”

To make this difference in the lives of others, children participating in the clinic are provided with a teddy bear that they will carry through a variety of stations. Throughout these clinic stations, the children will watch as their teddy bear is given an X-ray, stitches, shots and a physical. This process is in place to demonstrate to the children that if their teddy bear can make it through a doctor’s appointment, they can too.

“The Teddy Bear Clinic will show children that they are in safe hands with their doctors, just like their teddy bears were,” Prock said.

Whether lending a helping hand, or even a helping paw, service-learning projects like Prock’s serve as a shining example of the immense impact that Blugolds are making in the community each and every day.