MANSFIELD -- Students in Jayne Stahlke's seventh grade female art class at Mansfield Christian School used their artistic talents to benefit local children in emergency situations.
For the past three weeks, students spent time in class sewing stuffed bears for the Mansfield Fire Department, which will distribute the handmade creations to children affected by an emergency, such as a house fire or car accident.
Jayne's son, Sam Stahlke, a firefighter/medic with the Mansfield Fire Department, and fellow firefighter/medic Isaiah Finley visited MCS on Thursday to pick up the bears.
Sam told the students he appreciated their kind gesture, saying the bears will serve as a comforting distraction to children who may be frightened during an emergency.
"This will mean a lot to them," he said, especially since they "were made with love," he added.
People have donated stuffed animals to the fire department in the past; however, donations have been sparse lately, so this will help fill the gap.
Student Emma Drexel said she enjoys sewing and likes knowing that the bears will be going to children who may be facing a traumatic situation.
Before handing them over to the fire department, students added notes of encouragement on the bears.
This project was inspired by a lesson plan that Jayne saw in a periodical, she said.
"I just thought it sounded really cool, especially since my son is a fireman, so we have that connection," she said. "I love to make connections with the community."
Jayne hopes to continue the project in future years.