Dallas Nonprofit Kicks Off Nationwide ‘Teddy Cares’ Initiative for Homeless Children

Dallas LIFE, a local homeless recovery center, is giving a bear and a book to kids in shelters across the country. The nonprofit has the ultimate goal of providing them to 1 million children.

In an uplifting impact initiative to support the one-in-three homeless individuals who are children, Dallas LIFE, a homeless recovery center, has launched “Teddy Cares,” a nationwide program designed to provide comfort and hope to kids in shelter housing.

The book-and-bear program aims to remind these children that their situation is temporary and that they are not alone in their struggle.

The initiative, named after a new book written by Dallas LIFE executive director Bob Sweeney, will provide a teddy bear and a copy of the book to kids ages two to eight in homeless shelters across the United States.

[Screenshot: Dallas LIFE video]

“Over the years, I have seen homelessness not only have a devastating effect on adults but their children as well,” Sweeney said in a news release. The executive director says the kids struggle to identify with their surroundings in a shelter setting. He says their questions are basic but “essential” to ease their worried minds.

Sweeney’s book, titled “Teddy Cares,” is written from the perspective of a teddy bear at a homeless shelter who has been waiting for a special friend to arrive. It aims to help children feel more comfortable during their time in a shelter by walking them through their new surroundings.

[Photo: Dallas LIFE]

Dallas LIFE recently kicked off the initiative in Dallas with book and bear deliveries to several local homeless shelters, including Dallas LIFE, Family Gateway, Genesis Women’s Shelter, and Union Gospel Mission Center of Hope.

In Dallas alone, more than 3,900 Dallas ISD students experience some form of homelessness or housing instability in Dallas County, according to the nonprofit, citing the ISD’s stats.

Bob Sweeney, executive director of Dallas LIFE

“They struggle with having to go to a new school, eat different foods, sleep in a different bed, and do all this while living temporarily around strangers,” Sweeney explained. “I pictured them having a friend to walk them through the process and how great it would be if that friend were a teddy bear.”


In the coming months, Dallas LIFE plans to expand the Teddy Cares initiative to shelters in major Texas cities, including Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. The organization is also gearing up for special events and deliveries in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma later this year, with plans to reach shelters in other states across the country.

“We’re working to bring this initiative to more than 300 homeless shelters across America with the goal of providing them to 1 million children in homeless shelters,” said Sweeney.

[Photo: Dallas LIFE]

Dallas LIFE said the initiative is supported by generous donors, with over 2,000 kids sponsored so far. However, it says, there are still hundreds of thousands more in need of sponsorship. Anyone can donate a book and bear to a child for $50 via www.teddycares.org.

Dallas LIFE, now in its 70th year, offers services to men, women, families, seniors, and veterans through its Homeless No More recovery program. The nonprofit said the 10-month, accountability-based program, created by Sweeney, has achieved a nine-in-10 long-term recovery rate, surpassing most national homeless rehabilitation programs.

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