We Care Bears Project
Jessica, shown in this December 2012 photo, works to ensure every child has access to a stuffed animal when they're in need.
A Rancho Bernardo girl has been awarded $50,000 to help support her homegrown public service project.
Jessica Carscadden shared the story behind "We Care Bears" project with NBC 7 in May 2012.
The project, launched while Carscadden was a student at Monterey Ridge Elementary, collects teddy bears for lonely or needy children and then delivers the toys to police and firefighters to distribute.
"I thought my friends have a lot of stuffed animals and maybe drawing together we can make not just my stuffed animals but get more than my stuffed animals," she told NBC 7 in a previous interview.
Earlier this month, the 10-year-old was named as one of the winners of the Peace First fellowship. A 2-year, $50,000 grant was awarded by the non-profit organization as a way to support the causes of children who are motivated to help others.
Carscadden said the stuffed animals bring comfort and she wanted to share that with other kids who might be scared or injured.
Once a Chinese orphan, Jessica believed having a bear of her own was just a dream.
She spent her first months in a Chinese orphanage in a so-called “dying room” - a place where orphans are left to die because no one will adopt them - until her new family stepped into the picture.
Now the young San Diegan has been honored for her program aimed at creating peaceful communities.