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‘Social Butterflies’ team up for charity

Caitlin Nowicki knows how comforting a teddy bear can be to a sick child.

She received a bear from Kay Jewelers when she recently used the ambulance service in Geneva because of a seizure, her mother, Phillis Nowicki, said.

Although her daughter was scared and arrived at the hospital before her parents, Nowicki said, “She had something.”

When the 20-year-old later used the Fox River and Countryside ambulance service, she told the responders she was going to donate bears to them, her mother said. She recruited two friends, Alyssa Bartelson and Alaina Zocher, to help her give back.

The trio – which emerged from a Girl Scout troop of all special-needs kids and goes by the name The Social Butterflies – has partnered with Kay Jewelers in the Geneva Commons to provide bears to emergency response teams in the community while raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Nowicki said.

“All they want to do is give, give, give,” she said.

The St. Charles East High School students – Zocher is a junior, Bartelson is a senior and Caitlin Nowicki is a super senior – are asking community members to purchase a bear at Kay Jewelers, 414 Commons Drive, by Oct. 26 and specify it is for Project Bear, Phillis Nowicki said.

No less than $7 of the $13.96 purchase price will go to St. Jude. On Oct. 27 – Make a Difference Day – The Social Butterflies will distribute the bears to emergency response teams.

Nowicki said the girls hope to get 300 bears and noted four cases already have been sold. A case contains a dozen bears and costs $167.52.

According to St. Jude, Sterling Jewelers Inc. – the parent company of Kay Jewelers – has partnered with the hospital since 1999. The partnership has grown from the plush campaign to include employee and corporate giving.

“Kay Jewelers is proud to be a corporate partner supporting the life-saving work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” spokeswoman Kim Kanary said in an email. “Thanks to the generosity of our customers and efforts of our team members, we have raised more than $30 million in just 13 years.”

Make a Difference Day is described as the largest day of community service each year, with 3 million Americans participating in it last year, according to its website. Visit for information.

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