A HOBART teenager who has become a beacon of hope for sick children around the world is now using his handmade teddy bears to support children in another unique way.
Campbell Remess, a 14-year-old Friends School student, is using his special bears to help children who are visiting a parent or other family member in prison.
“When I was first asked to make bears for the prison, I really thought it was a bit strange,” Campbell said.
“But then when it was explained to me that these bears will be in stories to help children understand the visits when they go to see family and that these bears are going to be taking care of children in times that could be a bit scary, I wanted to do it right away.
“I hope that the bears and the book help a lot of children and the families also.
“Kids always need to be looked after and I am really glad that the bears will be there to help the kids and I am really proud to be a part of this project to support them.”
Minister for Corrections Elise Archer joined Campbell recently to officially launch the new book called, ‘Visiting Dad’.
“The families and children of those serving a sentence of imprisonment are a priority area for me as Minister for Corrections,” Ms Archer said.
“The launch of this new book adds to the resources already available to families and will more effectively support children affected by a parent being in prison.”
The book, published by Save the Children in partnership with the Salvation Army and the Risdon Prison Complex, helps prepare a child who is visiting a parent or other family member in prison.
Encompassing the experience of teddy bears, set against the background of realistic pictures of the actual prison, the book will help children better understand the experience before they arrive at the prison, with the aim of minimising the impact of the visit.
“I can only imagine what a daunting and upsetting experience it can be for some children to visit a prison for the first time,” Ms Archer said.
“I truly believe this publication, using pictures of one of Campbell’s bears to explain the prison setting, will help make a difference in the lives of these young people.”
Caption: Campbell Remess with Minister for Corrections Elise Archer at the launch of the new children’s book ‘Visiting Dad’.