Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Chad Burton looks at his new bear with Brooke Garcia and Trudi O’Brien at Bear-O Care in Riverton on Friday, July 28, 2017.
RIVERTON — Smiles were formed and tears were shed as a group of special needs people ranging in age from 10 to 50 were handed homemade teddy bears by the South Valley Rotary Club.
The teddy bear recipients were students at Bear-O-Care, a Riverton care and education facility for people with special needs.
Three members of the Rotary Club also donated money — $1,600 in total — to Bear-O-Care and received awards for their generosity Friday morning.
“I think there’s a time and place for all of us when we need help,” said Claudia Anderson, former Bluffdale mayor and member of the Rotary Club. “If we have a special child that needs special needs, we need some time as a break.”
Seeing the Bear-O-Care students delightfully accept their teddy bears was rewarding for Anderson.
“It was exciting to see them,” she said. “They all have different characteristics of how they show their appreciation, and that’s fun to see.”
Anderson, who has two deaf children in their 40s, said she’s been working with special needs children for more than 40 years. She currently conducts weekly activities for special needs children with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“It’s a fun thing to see people getting involved and getting excited,” she said.
Mikinsie Hysolli and her special needs sister, Celeste Hysolli, enjoyed the bear donations together.
Celeste Hysolli, 23, named her teddy bear Zack, and said her favorite thing about him was the heart sewn on his chest.
“He has a heart, just like you, Celeste,” her sister said.
Mikinsie Hysolli also expressed her gratitude for Bear-O-Care.
“This is important because growing up in a home with a child with special needs, I can see that it would be a lot of…