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Folsom girl shares her toys

Collects stuffed animals for the police department
By: Penne Usher, Special to the Telegraph
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A young Folsom girl found giving inspiration while thumbing through the pages of a magazine. Emily Beadles, 11, who will enter the sixth grade at Folsom Middle School in the fall, read an article about a girl who collected stuffed animals for a police department and decided it was a great idea. “It seemed like a nice thing to do,” Beadles said. Police departments often carry teddy bears to be given to children traumatized by abuse, injury or a death in the family. Beadles doesn’t go out and buy the plush toys that she gives to the Folsom Police Department. “When we go on vacation my dad and I will play the crane (arcade) game and get animals and we go to carnivals and win them, too,” she said. The energetic and articulate young lady isn’t exactly sure how many neon orange bunnies, pink pandas and chocolate colored teddy bears she’s provided to the department. So far Emily said she’s collected “a lot.” When a large storage bucket in her bedroom begins to overflow, Emily bags up the plush pets and carries them down to Officer Mike Griffin’s home, just down the street. “It’s nice to be able to have Mr. Griffin be able to give to a child when they are feeling sad so they have a friend to hug,” Emily said. Giana Beadles, Emily’s mother, is obviously proud of her youngest child. “I thought this would be a great program for kids - especially for those who have so much,” Giana Beadles said Griffin, an East Coast transplant, shares the wealth of plush pets with other officers in the department. There is no funded teddy bear program within the Folsom Police Department. “We usually use them for children who are very upset, a victim of a crime, a witness or maybe they were involved in a car crash,” Griffin said. “To be able to give them a stuffed animal to hold calms them down. They just aren’t so upset anymore and then you can talk to them.” Handing out soft cuddly toys does more than comfort an upset child, Griffin said. “It humanizes the person in the uniform,” he said. “We don’t want to be the scary person.” To Emily, who still has the first teddy bear she was given as a baby, the reward is in the giving. “It makes me feel happy that someone in need got my stuffed animals,” she said.