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Weber State University, in conjunction with Future Business Leaders of America, hosted the grand opening of the Teddy Bear Den at the Midtown Community Health Center on Wednesday afternoon. The Teddy Bear Den will offer prenatal care and help new mothers in need of support for their newborns.
“The Teddy Bear Den is a program the March of Dimes has here in Utah,” said Harrison Spendlove, Professional Business Leaders president with WSU FBLA. “Basically what it is is low-income women can go to the physicians, and as long as they are receiving their prenatal care and living a healthy lifestyle, the doctors can give them points. Based off of that, they can go to the Teddy Bear Den, and with those points they can exchange them for clothing, diapers, binkies, the basic needs of a child.”
FBLA-PBL is one of the largest international business student organizations in the world. Along with the brand-new Teddy Bear Den in Ogden is a location in Salt Lake and one at Southern Utah University.
“This facility will serve around 100,000 patient visits a year,” said Alan Hall of the WSU Board of Trustees. “It’s a huge number. To have this in the heart of Ogden where people nearby can come and use it is really terrific. There is nothing better for that population of people that need help. For Weber State to come in and be involved in it in a very charitable way, I think, is a wonderful advantage for this place. We have people from business, we have people from Spanish and nursing and other parts of the school. And just the outreach blesses the lives of the students so they are really seeing some practical things. And it really helps this place as well.”
At the ribbon cutting, Spendlove, Laura Anderson, Brooke Young, Tania Fernandez, Christy Amidan, McKell Nelson, Mark Housley and Julie Drake all spoke of their excitement and gratitude for the Teddy Bear Den and all it will do for mothers in need.
“We are very excited to be partnering with Weber State and the FBLA-PBL groups,” said Anderson, who is involved through the March of Dimes’ Utah chapter. “And starting the Teddy Bear Den up in Ogden area, this makes it our third Teddy Bear Den for the March of Dimes, and it’s wonderful to have this partnership. The whole goal of the Teddy Bear Dens is to get women into early regular prenatal care, because we know that getting women into early prenatal care will help reduce the rate of pre-term births in Utah.”
According to Anderson, out of every 55,000 babies born in Utah, 10 percent are premature.
After the speeches and ribbon cutting, WSU students and community members were invited to tour the facility and then enjoy refreshments of teddy-shaped cookies and juice.
“I’m really excited,” said Jeanne Hall, part of the committee for the WSU Center for Community Engaged Learning. “. . . I think we gave a small gift, around $2,000, to finally get this up and going today, so I am thrilled. I think Weber State students are the best, and when they get into the community and serve, it doesn’t matter what you are studying at Weber State — you can give back. I think that’s the magic.”