- Associated Press - Monday, March 20, 2017

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) - The Imagine Nation Children’s Museum in March was filled with children eager to get a checkup for their favorite stuffed animal or doll.

The annual Teddy Bear Health Clinic had health and wellness experts from the area showing children simple ways to stay healthy and active, and to not be afraid of the doctor.

“It’s an unreal event,” said Andrew Polio, a medical student at the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine who checked the heartbeat of children’s beloved stuffed friends. “I can imagine as a child this being the best day ever.”

“From an early age it’s good to show them the doctor isn’t someone to be afraid of. It’s also nice to kind of have fun with the kids.”

Penny Wattnem, 2, didn’t have any issue being afraid of the doctor.

“She loves doctors and everything,” said her father, Erik Wattnem. “She loves Doc McStuffins.” ”We heard about this event and we’ve never been to the museum,” he continued.

Wattnem said Penny brought her favorite doll and couldn’t wait to take her for a checkup.

“This was a really good turnout,” said Doreen Stickney, director of development and marketing at Imagine Nation. “We’re really appreciative to our sponsor, the Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation.”

Stickney said Imagine Nation aims to teach children about their health, from emotional wellness to their physical fitness. The health clinic, she said, was made possible by volunteers from Bristol Hospital, UConn, Wolcott EMTs, Hartford HealthCare’s Healthy Kids program and a number of other organizations.

Some volunteers, said Museum Director Coral Richardson, grew up going to Imagine Nation and returned years later to be a part of the Teddy Bear Health Clinic.

“It’s nice to see a journey like that,” Richardson said, “to see someone coming back to give back to the community.”

“We also love to see families here who are in our program,” Richardson said. “It’s nice to see them taking advantage of our extended school.”


Information from: The Bristol Press, https://www.bristolpress.com

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