Stuffed teddy bears are now helping some first graders in the Central Valley learn how to deal with life’s challenges.

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FRESNO, Calif. (FOX26, by by Amicia Ramsey) — Page by page, first graders at Pyle Elementary listened to a story from “The Teddy Bear”. In the story, a child lost his beloved teddy bear. By the end of the book, the child finds the teddy bear and gives’ it someone else.

Storytime happens through an outreach called, ‘Resilience In Student Education’ or R.I.S.E., The Fresno Police Chaplaincy started it back in 2011. It’s director, Rodney Lowery says it teaches kids about how to get through bad situations.

“The R.I.S.E Program underscore’s soft skills like self-efficacy, empathy, emotional regulation. [This] helps children bounce back from life’s challenges and tragedies. It gives them those core components to help them navigate,” said Lowery.

Lowery says the students learn they don’t have to face challenges alone. Teddy bears called ‘bounce back buddies’ were given out to class.

“A child who understands their value and their self-esteem is less likely to fall prey to people out there who are looking to exploit them,” said Lowery.

Each week the chaplains read to students in 31 different Fresno Unified Elementary Schools. It cost $10,000 a year to get kids in every classroom teddy bears. The Fresno Police Department Chaplaincy is a non-profit. If you’re interested in the teddy bear project call 559-621-2120