DMS Students Donate Teddy Bears to Honor Holocaust Survivor

When Holocaust survivor Shulamit Bastacky spoke to the entire Dorseyville Middle School eighth grade class in March as a part of the Holocaust Remembrance Assembly, she challenged them to bring in teddy bears to donate to the community. The idea was to offer a simple gesture of goodwill toward those in need of comfort. As a result, the DMS eighth grade students collected 100 teddy bears for the project. Language arts teacher Scott Vensel, along with several eighth-grade students, will be donating the teddy bears on June 6, 2018, to the Family House in Shadyside for families that are in need of some comfort while their loved ones are going through difficult times.

Bastacky was a “Hidden Child” during the Holocaust and has been speaking to schools in the Pittsburgh area for decades. When she speaks at a school, she asks that students find a place in their community to donate teddy bears as a way of bringing hope into people’s lives who are going through a tough time. “The person giving the teddy bear needs to see the look in the eyes of the person receiving it,” Bastacky said, when speaking of the importance of this kind gesture. She came up with this idea because, as a child hiding from the Nazis, she never had the simple comforts of childhood, like a teddy bear. She received her first teddy bear in her early twenties, which gave her the idea to collect and donate teddy bears to those in need.

On Wednesday June 6 at 11 a.m., Mr. Vensel and several students will meet at the Family House in Shadyside with retired DMS teacher, Mimi Botkin, who began the Teddy Bear project 19 years ago. At that time, they will donate the teddy bears on Bastacky’s behalf.