HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - The student council at Hollywood Hills Elementary School is acting as Santa’s little helpers this holiday season!
Faculty, staff, and children hosted a teddy bear drive honoring Taylor Bishop, a four-year-old boy who was killed when a single-engine plane crashed into the car he was in with his mother, Megan. His mother, who works at the school, survived the accident.
Students gathered over 1,000 bears for firefighters and police officers in the area as part of an organization Taylor’s mother started after his passing.
Back in March of 2021, Taylor died in a car crash after a plane clipped a powerline that caused it to lose control and collide with a vehicle on the street.
Although Megan was the sole survivor of that collision, she is determined to turn pain into purpose.
Taylor’s Teddy Bears is an organization that provides beloved stuffed animals to first responders and its mission is to keep Taylor’s memory alive.
With teddy bears at the ready, firefighters and police officers will hand them out if they encounter children in distress.
“People don’t call us because you want to say hi, they call us because there’s an issue and we have to solve that issue and to have that bear for the children it kind of eases their mind and tension because it’s a scary situation when you see law enforcement,” said Detective Andrew Laframboise with the Hollywood Police Department.
Megan chose teddy bears to symbolize her son’s love for his own plushie named Chevy, who Taylor had in the car with him before he passed away.
First responders eventually returned the stuffed bear to Megan and it inspired her to start the organization.
“They worked so hard to ensure Taylor’s teddy bear was brought back to me, and it brought me so much comfort and I really want his legacy to be more than the boy who died in the plane crash so I’ve worked really hard building that,” said Megan.
Students believed the drive was a wonderful act of kindness they got to experience.
“To this day, I don’t think there’s ever a moment where we’re not sad and upset but that’s why we wanted to turn it into something where we can make Ms. Kiki smile,” said Laurie Kraus, a co-sponsor of the student council at Hollywood Hills Elementary School.
Their goal was to raise at least 500 teddy bears, but they were able to collect over 1,477 of the lovable plushes.
“I’m glad to see so many people donated so many bears and hopefully, first responders can give them to children,” said Santi, the student council president at the school.
Megan said not only are the bears used in tough calls, but officers can also pass them out to children on their birthdays or when they’re playing on the street.
“It’s overwhelming in the best way just being able to carry out his legacy and showing the kids that a little act of kindness can change, you know something so beautiful came out of something so tragic,” said Megan.
The goal is to bridge the gap between the first responders and the community.
If you would still like to donate a bear to this organization, you can order bears online to be delivered to the school located at 3501 Taft St.
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