Stuffed toy round up for kids

The Valley Intermediate School Student Council recently helped collect nearly 1,200 stuffed animals to donate to Children’s Hospital. Members of the Student Council are: Carla Aleman, Bella Brown, Kyle Camlic, Kasey Clark, Andrew Fugua, Abby Cook, Ashley Crawford, Bianka Deladillo, Richard Diego, Emily Dodson, Caroline Doughty, Avery Fish, Sloan Gartman, Morgan Gilkerson, Anna Grace Hall, Aleah Hayes, Isabella Heap, Hannah Horton, Griffin Knight, Elie McPhearson, Annie Meseler, Molly Miller, Lexi Morgan, Eden Nyugen, Caleb Page, Brayden Plunkett, Hannah Pritchett, Michelle Reynoso, Isabella Smith, Kylie Snyder, Lindsey Turner, Bethany Warden and Alex Wilkens.

Valley Intermediate School Student Council members, along with their student council advisor, VIS Teacher Cynthia Thornburg, have been busy conducting what has become their annual round-up of stuffed animals.

The kids collected stuffed animals for The Birmingham Harley Owners Group’s 17th- annual Teddy Bear Ride for Children’s Hospital. Saturday, Nov. 6 was the day of this year’s annual ride. Miss Alabama 2010, Ashley Davis, served as the grand marshal.

This year, VIS students, teachers and staff responded to the Student Council’s call by donating an overwhelming 1,190 stuffed animals to find new homes where they’re really needed. Although we don’t know the exact locations of these animals’ new homes, we do know a little bit about their journey.

If you’re wondering how Children’s Hospital is going to house both its patients and 1,190 stuffed animals, VIS fourth-grader Bethany Warden can explain.

“When I was little, I had really bad ear infections and I went to Children’s Hospital to get tubes in my ears,” Warden said. “They gave me a stuffed mouse and it made me quit crying. That little mouse made me feel better and I got to take that mouse home.”Warden knows first-hand the comfort that a small gift of love can bring.

“At one time or another, lots of our students have been patients at Children’s Hospital, so they realize what it means to be sick and afraid,” Thornburg said.

An avid motorcycle rider, Thornburg belongs to the Birmingham Harley Owners Group.

“Our riding group is like a family,” Thornburg said. “We have a Facebook page, we take rides together and we look out for one another.”

Community columnist Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at