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Teddy Bear’s Beach Run
Teddy Bear’s Beach Run

Teddy Bear Beach Run 2013
Imagine being a child that is in a wheelchair, autistic or confined by other special needs and always dependent on someone else to be there to help with the everyday tasks of living. The children at North Shelby School and their families deal with this on a daily basis. Just the requirements of getting by day to day can cause extra expenses and stress on households of these families and can leave little time, energy and often money for extra activities that most families have the opportunity to enjoy. That is the inspiration behind “Teddy Bear’s Beach Run”, a once in a lifetime beach experience with all transportation, rooms, entertainment paid for the North Shelby Seniors and some of their one on one workers. Carl “Teddy Bear” Fortenberry says it takes a lot of help and money, but it is worth it to get to see these kids, some of whom have never experienced the sand, ocean, and sometimes not even getting in a swimming pool. It’s exciting to watch their amazement with everything and to see them sharing that experience with their classmates. Fortenberry says that this trip lets them have a weekend at Myrtle Beach and be just like other kids that are graduating.  Carol Goforth, Bookkeeper and Program Coordinator at North Shelby School adds that it gives them a level of independence, that they may not get to experience ever again, some students have never been away from home overnight or to the beach. The trip is usually scheduled the first weekend in May. They leave on Friday and return on Monday afternoon and they stay at the Landmark resort in Myrtle Beach, SC. Special accommodations, beach wheelchairs and other equipment are provided. Every student gets a T-shirt. Goforth says that the smallest number of students
ever taken has been five, and the largest group consisted of twenty-two students. The kids look forward to this opportunity for years before it is their turn. This is evident as they all cheer and clap at the Friday send off celebration, which also includes a police escort and dozens of motorcycles, giving the bus an escort to the county line. Some of the bikers are also volunteers on the trip and use it as their vacation, escorting the students all the way to Myrtle Beach and helping them with activities on the trip. Teddy Bear says it is truly a sight to see the way every one pulls together, to make this trip special for these kids, who have all worked hard to get to this point. The trip is earned by the Seniors for performing well in their academics and behavior, so it is truly an accomplishment to be able to participate. This year’s trip is scheduled for May 2nd - May 5th.
Volunteers and donations welcome
Contact Carol Goforth at North Shelby School 704-487-9941
cagoforth@clevelandcountyschools.org

by Dawn Downs

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