Abandoned at birth, she is only 12 years old, yet her heart beats for the children in crisis
Born with a facial defect, Jessica was abandoned by her biological parents at birth. She has clef palette and lip with a noticeable speech problem and had to go through a total of ten surgeries to correct as much as possible of the clef palette and lip.
Jessica spent the first five years of her life in a Chinese orphanage before she was adopted by an American couple Kathleen and Bob Carscadden. Now with a loving family, Jessica spent the last two years trying to find ways to give to others. 12-year-old, Jessica Carscadden is a girl with a mission. The San Diego sixth-grader is the founder of the We Care Bears Project, a charity that involves collecting new and like-new stuffed animals for first-responding police and fire departments that deal with children in a tough place. So far, Jessica has worked to provide 130,000 stuffed animals to first responders and other organizations that interact with children.
People often ask Jessica if she feels grateful or lucky to be adopted, but the truth of the matter is that it’s our family that is grateful and blessed to be able to call this beautiful girl ours. Kathleen Carscadden, Jessica’s adoptive mother.
While cleaning her room one day, she came up with the idea of putting her stuffed animals in bags and giving them to the firemen, to keep in the trunks of their trucks. The motivation for this idea came from Jessica’s time in an orphanage when she found comfort in her closest belonging, her stuffed bear. She wanted to aid other children who may feel the same. She wanted the stuffed animals to be given to children who are frightened or hurt.
Jessica’s idea spawned the non-profit, We Care Bears, which provides stuffed animals to comfort children enduring difficult situations. She has reached her first goal of putting a bag in every emergency response vehicle of the San Diego Fire Department. There have been over 70 bags of stuffed animals, 1,000 bears total. Every bear donated through We Care Bears has a business card greeting from Jessica Carscadden.
This is a great way for parents to encourage their kids to get involved. It’s children helping children. I like that it’s a learning opportunity for children. It’s truly is a 10 year-old’s project. Said Kathleen, Jessica’s adoptive mother.
Jessica Carscadden was featured on the channel 7 San Diego news after facilitating a donation of mattresses for a fire station in Rancho Bernardo. During the May firestorm in North County, she stopped by the Rancho Bernardo Fire Station 33 to deliver dinner as a ‘Thank you’. She saw a need of a different kind, the firemen were in dire need of mattresses. She approached Jerome’s Furniture and they loved the idea. Several months later, seven new box springs and mattresses were delivered to Station 33. She put the protective coverings on each mattress herself and used her own allowance for pillows and blankets. She spent her allowance on blankets, pillows and even decorative pillows.
Jessica Carscadden has also collected an array of awards and grants. She was a 2014 Make a Difference Day honoree. Jessica donated her $10,000 grant to a charity that provides cleft lip and palate surgeries for orphaned children. In 2013, Jessica was recognized by the Kohl’s Cares Foundation, the Heart of America Foundation, generationOn, Points of Light and the My Unsung Hero Foundation.
She is currently one of the top 15 contenders for the Lead360 Maximum Impact award, a project of the Jefferson Awards Foundation. Jessica also won the Peace First Fellowship Grant, $50,000 to be spread over two years. She was awarded this grant when she was just 11 years old. On Make A Difference Day, Jessica gathered 60 volunteers and they sorted, tagged and filled 580 bags full of bears.
My vision for tomorrow is that every police and fire vehicle in the country has a bag of We Care Bears. It’s a big task, but together we can make it happen.
Whenever you think that one person can’t make a difference – look to Jessica and think, how this 12 year old girl has made a huge difference; seems the size of her heart knows no bounds. She has accomplished all these within a period of two years. God puts people in our paths to teach us valuable lessons in humility, intelligence, kindness, love, giving, selflessness and how to be happy with ourselves and the world we live in. This little girl is all of that and she radiates joy while travelling down her path. We all should be inspired by Jessica Carscadden. Bless you, Jessica, you are an Angel.
To support Jessica in her goal of putting stuffed animals into every police, fire and ambulance vehicles in Southern California, email her at:[email protected] or visit her website at: wecarebears.webs.com or visit her Facebook site at: facebook.com/WeCareBearsProject.
Image Credit: utsandiego