Our Programs

Bear Hugs 4 Haiti

Michele Gillen has created a program to provide the children of Haiti, arriving to their new homes in America, a big hug that captures smiles and a warm welcome. CBS4, Neighbors 4 Neighbors and Adopt A Bear received a request from the State of Florida and The American Red Cross and Michele started making calls to make it happen. For $20, someone can sponsor a bear and provide a longlasting hug that not only welcomes children to their new home, but develops a sense of security to begin the healing process. Bear Hugs for Haiti is seeking to provide sponsorships for 5000 bears from our community and local businesses.

The campaign is off and running because of the generosity of the Herbert Hoover Foundation. Chairman Elizabeth Lacey Hoover has committed to “adopting” two thousand bears for the children who have endured so much. We hope someone will match this and make a difference to these youngest victims of Haiti’s earthquake as they arrive on our shores, having lost so much. It’s a step toward healing and a new future.

To sponsor or make a donation, please click on our donation tab and list “Bear Hugs for Haiti” in the intention of donation. 100% of the proceeds go to the Haiti campaign.

Adopt-A-Bear Firefighter Fund

Willing to risk their lives and at the ready to save the most vulnerable amongst us,firefighters often come face to face with traumatized, injured and abandoned children.

Like the Judges of Juvenile Court, they too had a tradition of sharing a teddy bear in moments of crisis. But because of budget cuts the bears disappeared, leaving our heros in the field empty handed. In fact, to illicit a smile, many resort to fashioning a ‘toy chicken’ by blowing up a plastic paramedic glove and drawing on a smiling face.

The Ernest Lestor – Adopt a bear – Fire Fighter Fund rescues the bears for our firefighters. It is named in honor and memory of a CBS-4 hero, Ernest Lestor, who was dedicated to helping others, provoked loving smiles wherever he went and will forever be remembered as our teddy bear.

Send a Bear to Court

With your donations we ensure that the shelves of the Miami- Dade Juvenile Court are not “bare of bears.” Lead by the Honorable Chief Judge Cindy Lederman, the judges had a long tradition of gifting the bears to abused, neglected and abandoned children in an effort to comfort them during heartbreaking moments. The bears of the court were ‘endangered’ because of budget cuts. Adopt -A-Bear was born to rescue the bears for the children and the judges who hand them out with love.


Adopt-a-bear is a grassroots non-profit campaign dedicated to fighting child abuse. Our daily mission is to help comfort abused, neglected and abandoned children – one teddy bear at a time!

At the core of our adoption effort is the experience of children helping children. The “adoption” of the teddy bear by one child for another who is less fortunate, is a treasured gift for all. Of course, we encourage loving adults to adopt as well.

The campaign was created by Investigative Journalist Michele Gillen in response to state budget cuts that endangered the gifting of bears by our Juvenile Court Judges. Thanks to you, the bears are being rescued – and so are the children.

Michele Gillen

Michele GillenMichele Gillen is the founder of the Adopt-A-Bear campaign. She served as Chief Investigative Reporter at WFOR-TV, Miami, Florida for 19 years. Gillen is a well recognized anchor and investigative reporter on both network and local television news, is the recipient of 38 National Academy of Television Arts and Science (NATAS) Emmy awards, the Columbia DuPont Silver Baton, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, three Green Eyeshade Awards, and has been honored twice by the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television. Read her full profile at www.MicheleGillen.com.