A No Shave November competition at Tippecanoe High School will put bears and other furry friends into the arms of young patients at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
The first year Build a Beard event for the annual No Shave November observance was organized by senior Omar Fallon with money raised paying for a visit to the Build a Bear workshop.
The trip in January was made by a dozen Tippecanoe representatives - nine students and three teachers - including Spanish teacher Cory Breth, who Fallon asked to help him with the project.
The group had hoped to visit the children around Valentine’s Day but decided to delay the visit because of recent illnesses among students and staff, Fallon said.
When the deliveries are made, the boys and girls will receive stuffed animal bears and monkeys among them along with a Minion each in a special carrying bag.
A winner of the No Shave November activity, either one growing a beard or a sponsor, built each of the furry friends.
“We made it like a race where you could bet money on certain people winning,” Fallon said of the competition with categories such as craziest beard, best beard and funniest beard.
Around $500 was raised, with Breth collecting the most. His motivation, he said, was to help deliver the bears. “I was trying to lead by example but ended up raising more money than expected,” he said.
Fallon said he was inspired to undertake the project by past volunteer projects and an illness of his mother, Nazreen.
“Going through that, I wanted to give back to people who had been in the same situation,” Omar Fallon said. “I really enjoy service and also am very young and can grow a beard so I decided to combine all of that. This came about.”
He, too, built a bear with his wearing a police officer uniform.
Fallon and Breth said the trip to Build a Bear was rewarding, even if the person waiting to work with the group thought they would be dealing with third graders instead of high school students and adults. The group was given a discount and help outfitting the creations.
Each participant selected the kind of animal they wanted, or a Minion, along with a heart, the outfit and accessories. The heart is placed in the creation as the participant is stuffing it.
Each creation comes with a gift certificate that contains the name of the person who made it. The recipient will select the name, Fallon said.
“I am really excited to meet the children, to see them get their present, too,” he said.
Breth said Fallon did not want recognition for his efforts, but said they were noteworthy.
“It was refreshing to see a student take control and lead something this big. He did the work, got the word out,” Breth said. “When he came to me with the idea, it was like a no-brainer.”
Although Fallon is a senior, the goal is to have the project became part of the No Shave November tradition at Tippecanoe High School. The event attracted around 45 competitors and with sponsors totaled around 100 participants.