History of Green Bear Junction
The Green Bear Project was founded in 2001 in memory of Baby Ty, a little boy who died as a result of abuse. The project’s primary mission is to develop child abuse prevention programs to take into local schools and communities to educate children, parents, teachers, other professionals, and community members. For over 20 years, the program has been doing just that. But with the pandemic in 2020, getting the program into the schools and in front of students became difficult. Green Bear Project Educators knew we had to expand the program to reach more of the community.
That’s where Christy Mershon stepped in, serving as SEMO-NASV’s Board Vice President and Discovery Playhouse’s Board Secretary in 2022, she knew that there was a unique opportunity for collaboration between the two agencies. Both organizations have boards composed of PhD level educators, content developers, and staff with delivery and content knowledge, making the partnership even more efficient and effective.
Meetings started in spring 2021 and by fall 2021, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two organizations, Green Bear Junction was born. Green Bear Junction officially opened in April 2022, sharing a space in the SoutheastHEALTH exhibit at Discovery Playhouse.
What is Green Bear Junction?
Green Bear is the project’s mascot and guides families through the experience, along with his sister Tiffy Bear. Children of all ages can spend time in the activity corner, where they can draw and color, unscramble words about feelings, learn safety tips through a word search, and even participate in a scavenger hunt. There is also a trivia game children and their families can play, though the team advises you watch the interactive videos before playing.
One of the main topics The Green Bear Project covers, is who kids can tell if abuse has occurred. They should have several trusted adults they know they can tell. Green Bear always says to keep telling grownups until someone helps. Families can easily have these discussions in Green Bear Junction by interacting with the Green Bear Junction Train and Puppet Show.
There is something for everyone in Green Bear Junction, as the creators understand that children of all ages can and will interact with the exhibit. The walls of Green Bear Junction also give helpful tips and conversation topics for caregivers to start having personal body safety discussions. Educators really want parents to start the conversations early and often, the more you talk about it, the easier it is. Parents can find more information on the Parents section of the Green Bear website.