A beary fun idea to make kids smile in Merrill

By  | 

MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW)- Schools across the state are closed right now, and many are on spring break without much for kids to do. In Merrill, inspiration drawn from a children’s book has spread an idea to put a smile on kids’ faces and give them something to look forward to in the neighborhood.

A teddy bear in a window in Merrill, Wisconsin, on March 23, 2020. (WSAW)

"It brings out the best in people."

Lisa Hass is an elementary school teacher who's lived in Merrill most of her life, and she was inspired by a Facebook post to brighten some kids days in the area.

"My neighbor had a post on Facebook relating the children’s book of going on a bear hunt, and talking about putting bears in the windows,” said Hass.

Just a few blocks away, Jodi Peroutka saw the same idea, and had flashbacks to when her now 13-year old daughter was just a toddler.

"When my daughter was younger this is something that she really would've enjoyed, going around trying to do that hunt, that scavenger hunt activity,” said Peroutka. “So it's something that we as a family have always supported, is getting people more involved with their families."

Anyone will welcome a distraction from reality right now, but especially kids, many of whom can't fully grasp what's going on in the world around them.

"We have several small children in the neighborhood that I thought, you know this would be fun for them to see the bears in the window,” said Hass. “But the kids really don't know what's happening."

A small gesture, from members of a small town, to keep the most precious members of their community happy, when that's hard for everyone to do.

"It's a small town, a lot of people know everybody,” Peroutka says. “So it seems easier in a town like this for everyone to come together to support our children, and to support family getting together time."

Hass said, "Anything we can do for the kids right now to keep them happy, keep a smile on their face, is a win for me during these difficult times."