#SupporterSpotlight- Terry Bankston

Written by: Victoria Burnett

Terry Bankston holding a donated bear. 2019.

To many, stuffed animals bring back fond childhood memories. To others, they could be knick knacks, collectibles or toys for grandkids. To kids at the Children’s Safety Center, the stuffed animal they get as they exit the doors of our facility reminds them that they are survivors.

Every child who walks through the doors of the Children’s Safety Center gets to pick out his or her own stuffed animal– and Terry Bankston makes sure we have plenty. For the past two years he has put on an event called “Bears to Give” where he has collected stuffed animals to donate to the Children’s Safety Center.

“If I believe in a cause, if I can help, then I’ll do whatever I can to make people aware of what’s going on,” Terry said.

During a tour of the center Terry noticed the collection of stuffed animals, and knew he could combine his life-long love for bears with his heart for helping others. And we really couldn’t be more thankful for his generosity! His volunteer work is what brought this bunny back to the Children’s Safety Center. 

Bunny that belonged to a child who was treated at the Children’s Safety Center. 2019.

During last week’s “Bears to Give” event one lady donated a stuffed animal that belonged to her former foster daughter who had been at the Children’s Safety Center for treatment. After she got adopted, the child gave the stuffed animal to her foster mother and told her to make sure it got into another child’s hands who “needed to feel safe.” Because of Terry and his “Bears to Give” event, the woman who held onto the bunny for eight years finally got to fulfill her former foster daughter’s wish of giving it to another child in need. 

“That was one of those moments where it really didn’t matter if anyone else came into the event, because that was the one,” Terry said. “That’s why we do what we do. That’s why I do what I do. Those kinds of things change generations.”

And he’s right! What we do at the Children’s Safety Center is to make children feel confident and comfortable again. But we can’t do it without wonderful people like Terry. We are so, so grateful for his help. And we are so going to miss him! 

His time in Arkansas is almost up because he’s moving to Virginia soon, he said. But we hope it’s not the last time we’ll see him.

“I am still going to support the Children’s Safety Center,” he said. “That’s a promise. I’m going to keep talking about it on my Facebook page, and if I have to come back here and have a “Bears to Give” event every June, I’ll do that.”

We can’t wait until we see you again, Terry! Thank you for your help in restoring dreams for kids in Washington County.

Terry Bankston with his stuffed animal donations. 2018.