The Green Bear Club

In Loving Memory of

"Baby Ty"

 

   The Green Bear Program was created in memory of Baby Ty - a 2 year old toddler who was tragically killed by his biological parents in September 2000, after returning to them from foster care.  The people who knew and loved Baby Ty could no longer sit around and say, "Child abuse is a horrible thing and someone should do something about it."  We decided to try and help children who have been abused and to try to prevent children from being abused.

   In February 2001, members of The Green Bear Club collaborated with Tammy Gwaltney, Executive Director of The Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence (now known as Beacon Health Center) to develop primary child abuse prevention programs to take into the schools.  Our first endeavor was, "Surviving the Dating Game", a program developed for high school students which was funded by The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.  Later in the year, The Green Bear Club was funded by The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services as well.  In 2002, Hugging, Kissing, Touching . . . And All That Other stuff was a multi-session program created for middle school students that not only talks with students about primary sexual abuse prevention, but also discusses internet dangers, avoiding grooming situations, date rape drugs and how to avoid them.

   The Green Bear Club also believes that educating parents and mandated reporters is vital in preventing abuse from ocurring.  We have developed a parenting class that has expanded into a 4 session primary abuse prevention classes.  Our mandated reporter class has also expanded from a program on how to report suspected abuse, to how to prevent child abuse as well as how to report suspected abuse.

   My how we've grown!  In the first year, we saw less than 500 children, last year we educated over 12,000 in primary child abuse prevention education.

 

Who Was Tylen?

A Foster Mother's Story

A Loving Child

   Baby Ty was a boy who loved to be loved, and gave so much love in return.  I was his foster mother for 1/4 of his short life.  When I first met Ty, it was love at first site.  He sort of waddled when he walked, but he had such big beautiful eyes and pretty blond hair.  When he smiled, his whole face lit up.

  Ty was a boy who loved to cuddled.  Almost every night he was with me, I would sit and sing to him and rock him to sleep.  With 4 other foster children, it was our together time and I will treasure it always.

A Much-Loved Brother

  Ty was not alone in this world, he had a brother and sister who loved him very much.  There was so much love between the three of them it was tangible. 

   His older sister was his protector.  When the children first came to live with me, she was with her brothers at all times.  You could tell when she left for her first day of school (kindergarten), she did not want to go - she wanted to stay and protect her brothers!  Eventually, with time and love, she came to accept our family as her own and trusted us.  Then she became a little girl who loved to play dress-up and go to school.

   Ty's older brother also loved him - he was 4 years old.  Ty had frequent ear infections, and because of this he had to have tubes placed in his ears.  Ty had some minor complications and had to stay at the hospital for a few hours after surgery.  While I rocked Ty in the rocking chair, his brother sat on a small stool beside us and sang songs to comfort Ty.  Every once in a while he would look at Ty to make sure he was OK, give him a kiss, and continue to sing.

   Ty and his siblings were only home for 3 months before he was tragically killed by his biological parents.  Apparently, his siblings were in the next room and could do nothing.  This was not an isolated incident that got out of control; Ty had been consistently abused, probably from the time he arrived home.

   No child should suffer this abuse.  It is up to concerned adults to protect our children from harm.  Members of the Green Bear Club truly  believe, "One Person CAN make a difference in a child's life."

 

Why "The Green Bear Club"?

   Before Baby Ty had ear surgery, he picked out a "comfort toy" at Target.  At the store, there was a whole row of stuffed animals - there was Blue from Blue's Clues (his favorite show) or Scooby Dooby Doo (another favorite).  Instead of those stuffed animals, he chose a plain light green bear with a big green bow.

   The bear was kind of cute.  It was very soft and cuddly and exactly what he needed.  After the surgery, Ty slept with "Green Bear", Ty's imaginative name for his bear, almost every night. 

   When the children were sent home, they left quickly and not all their toys were packed.  Sadly, "Green Bear" was left behind.  Although the parents promised to return to pick up the rest of the children's belongings, it was never done.

   A few days after Ty's death,  "Green Bear" was found in a closet.  It did not seem fair to keep "Green Bear" hidden away.  Since Ty's death, "Green Bear" has been cuddled and held by many foster children who needed comfort.

   Just like Ty's Green Bear comforted him, we want The Green Bear Club to help comfort children and keep them safe.  We let every child we see know that we think they are strong, smart and special and have the right to be safe.  In The Green Bear Club, we emphasize to children If anything happens to a child to scare them, or make them feel like they aren't safe, they should tell a grownup right away.

 

Little Angel

Your life so frail, your childhood shattered,

Your face so bruised, your body battered.

I cry 'cause you're gone, but I shouldn't bother

Cause you've taken on wings and live with a "Heavenly Father".

Your skin all dirty, clothes were tattered,

You would scream and cry, but not that it mattered.

For you I want revenge, but there's no sense to bother,

The ones who did this will be judged by the Father.

If it takes my final breath, your death won't go for naught,

I and my friends will make sure that justice is sought.

Your troubles are lifted, you pain finally over,

Now you're playing and laughing and running thru clover.

Just wait right there partner, someday we will meet,

The scars will be gone, no blood on your feet.

I miss you already, by little buddy Tylen,

But I know you're in Heaven, your precious face smilin'.

By Daniel Jackson Fraser

 

 
The Green Bear Program         73 Sheridan     Cape Girardeau, MO 63703          573-332-1900