In Loving Memory of "Baby Ty"
The Green Bear Project was created in memory of Baby Ty – a two year old toddler who was tragically killed by his biological parents in September 2000 after returning to them from foster care. The people who knew and loved Baby Ty could no longer just sit around and say, “Child abuse is a horrible thing and someone should do something about it.” They decided to work to prevent children from being abused and to help children who have been abused.
In February 2001, the founder of The Green Bear Project collaborated with SEMO-NASV to develop primary child abuse prevention programs to take into schools. Our first endeavor was “Surviving the Dating Game,” a program developed for high school students which was funded by The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Later in the year, The Green Bear Club was funded by The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services as well. In 2002, “Hugging, Kissing, Touching . . . and All That Other Stuff,” was a multi-session program created for middle school students that not only talks with students about primary sexual abuse prevention, but also discusses how to avoid internet dangers, grooming situations and date rape drugs.
The Green Bear Project believes educating parents and mandated reporters is vital in preventing and reporting child abuse. We have developed a community education class, Raising Healthy Children in Your Community, which educates parents and other concerned community members on how to prevent abuse from occurring, as well as the protocol for reporting suspected child abuse. Our Mandated Reporter program informs professionals and adults on recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse.
My, how we’ve grown! In the first year, we educated less than 500 children. Last year we provided over 16,000 children with body safety education!
Who Was Tylen?
A Foster Mother's Story
A Loving Child
Baby Ty was a boy who loved to be loved, and gave so much love in return. I was his foster mother for 1/4 of his short life. When I first met Ty, it was love at first sight. He sort of waddled when he walked, but he had such big beautiful eyes and pretty blond hair. When he smiled, his whole face lit up.
Ty was a boy who loved to cuddle. Almost every night he was with me, I would sing to him and rock him to sleep. With four other foster children, it was our together time and I will treasure it always.
A Much-Loved Brother
Ty was not alone in this world; he had a brother and sister who loved him very much. There was so much love between the three of them, it was tangible.
His older sister was his protector. When the children first came to live with me, she was with her brothers at all times. You could tell when she left for her first day of school (kindergarten), she did not want to go – she wanted to stay and protect her brothers! Eventually, with time and love, she came to accept our family as her own and trusted us. Then, she became a little girl who loved to play dress-up and go to school.
Ty’s older brother also loved him – he was four years old. Ty had frequent ear infections, and because of this, he had to have tubes placed in his ears. Ty had some minor complications and had to stay at the hospital for a few hours after surgery. While I rocked Ty in the rocking chair, his brother sat on a small stool beside us and sang songs to comfort Ty. Every once in a while, he would look at Ty to make sure he was okay, give him a kiss, and continue to sing.
Ty and his siblings were only home for three months before he was tragically killed by his biological parents. Apparently, his siblings were in the next room and could do nothing. This was not an isolated incident that got out of control; Ty had been consistently abused, probably from the time he arrived home.
No child should suffer this abuse. It is up to concerned adults to protect our children from harm. Members of the Green Bear Project truly believe, “One person CAN make a difference in a child’s life.” -Leasa Stone
Why "Green Bear"?
Before Baby Ty had ear surgery, he picked out a “comfort toy” at Target. At the store, there was a whole row of stuffed animals – there was Blue from Blue’s Clues (his favorite show) and Scooby Dooby Doo (another favorite). Instead of those stuffed animals, he chose a plain light-green bear with a big green bow.
The bear was kind of cute. It was very soft and cuddly and exactly what he needed. After the surgery, Ty slept with “Green Bear”- his imaginative name for his bear- almost every night.
When the children were sent home, they left quickly and not all their toys were packed. Sadly, Green Bear was left behind. Although the parents promised to return to pick up the rest of the children’s belongings, it was never done.
A few days after Ty’s death, Green Bear was found in a closet. It did not seem fair to keep Green Bear hidden away. Since Ty’s death, “Green Bear” has been cuddled and held by many foster children who needed comfort.
Just like Ty’s Green Bear comforted him, we want The Green Bear Project to comfort children and help keep them safe. We let every child we see know that we think they are strong, smart and special, and they have the right to be safe. In our classes, we provide body safety education and emphasize to children that if anything happens to scare them or make them feel unsafe, they should tell a grown-up right away.