Hope 4 Today Foundation (H4T), a 501 (c)3 based in Chesterfield Mo, working with The Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation in St. Louis Mo visited Irving Elementary in Joplin Mo.

Working with Principal Dr. Debbie Forte, the Foundations distributed Seaman's Journey with Lewis & Clark, a bridge book developed for Hope 4 Today's Quiet Man Literacy Project. The book has been distributed throughout the nation with contributions from various agencies and private donors.

Coordination of the event was provided by Hope 4 Today Foundation's regional office in Miami, OK. The Foundation's Quiet Man Literacy Project began to work with the Joplin Public Schools during Summer School. They were joined today by Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation who provided each student at Irving Elementary a personal "Bear."

Students at KIPP Inspire Academy of St. Louis wrote individual wishes for each heart inserted in the Bears. They also included cards carrying their wishes for the students. Build-A-Bear Workshop also provided students in grades 3-5 with an individual copy of Seaman's Journey.

H4T Board of Director's President, George S. Briscoe, was pleased with the collaboration, noting, "It is our hope that the Bears will find a home and that the wishes inserted in each of them come true for the students of Irving Elementary. Dr. Forte has provided extraordinary leadership for her school in these difficult times and we are pleased that we can help. Hope 4 Today's core values include respect, accountability, equality, courage and honesty (REACH). We believe that success is within each child's REACH."

Board member Elizabeth Briscoe presented Dr. Forte with gift from the Foundations thanking her for the opportunity to work with Irving students. "Our children are part of a community that is broader than one town or one county; we are delighted to be able to play a small part in community's rebuilding."

For more information on Build-A-Bear visit www.bearville.com

Information on Hope 4 Today Foundation can be found at their website www.tqmf.org or by contacting Ruth Chapman at okqmfoundation@yahoo.com