project: Sweet Sugar Bears


Remember Thea and her generous heart? In February she requested that donations be made to project AVA in lieu of gifts for her 7th birthday. We were honored to be in attendance at her party and celebrate with her and her family and friends! Because of Thea, roughly $850 was donated to help at-risk children and families in the project AVA community. After spending more time with Thea and learning of her love for stuffed animals and desire to help at-risk children, project AVA decided to do a special project in honor of her and her kind heart.

Introducing, project: Sweet Sugar Bears.

On April 27th, 2015 we met back up with sweet Thea. Together, we presented 100 stuffed teddy bears to the Madison County Sherriff’s office in Edwardsville, IL. We were kindly greeted by Sheriff John Lakin, Captain William Dimitroff, and Deputy Scott Gurly and his canine partner Rocky. The “Sweet Sugar Bears” will be kept in the trunk of each patrol car that services the Madison County area. They will be distributed to children the deputies encounter who appear to need a little extra love and support. Children are often present during police involved calls regarding domestic disturbances, custody battles, and even drug and weapon seizures. These children often experience a form of vulnerability and confusion that most of us thankfully never have or will experience. project AVA’s hope is that our Sweet Sugar Bears will provide even a moment of comfort, distraction, and normalcy for children in these situations.

So why the name “Sweet Sugar Bears”? Family and friends of Ava Lee Cary often referred to her as sweet sugar bear. project: “Sweet Sugar Bears” is another gentle reminder of the love and light that sweet Ava continues to spread through our acts of kindness as project AVA.

Thank you, Thea. We are so proud of you! You have most definitely been “Called For Kindness!”

project AVA would also like to thank the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and all law enforcement agencies across the country for their continued service and commitment to keeping our communities safe.


Left: Captain William Dimitroff with his daughter Thea, and Deputy Scott Gurly
Middle: Sheriff John Lakin, Thea, and Captain Dimitroff
Right: Captain Dimitroff, Thea, Deputy Gurly, and “Rocky”