Joining the ranks of the Orioles Bird, Poe the Raven, and Ferrous the Ironbird, Teddy Bear Sean is the new mascot for Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County. The mascot was born from the Clubs’ 25th Anniversary celebration and annual Steak & Burger/Youth of the Year Award Dinner in March where patrons committing to a $1,000 annual youth sponsorship were awarded the bears for their donation. Unlike the other local mascots, however, Teddy Bear Sean’s namesake is an actual person—a 13-year-old Club member to be exact.
Currently attending Bel Air Middle School, Sean Hooper has been a Club member for eight years. He participates in many of the Club’s established programs as well as activities like board games, pool, and soccer. “I like coming to the Club to make new friends,” says Sean. “That includes the staff who have helped me with my schoolwork and with handling stressful situations.”
Sean struggles with self-esteem and bullying which created problems for him at a young age. The staff always made sure that Sean knew he was protected and safe at the club. Picking on Sean was not allowed. “The staff really helped me be more mature and deal with stress,” says Sean. “They helped me become healthier. They ask me how I’m doing and how my day was, and they would actually listen and care.” In addition to being empathetic listeners, Club staff encouraged Sean to try yoga, improve his social and coping skills, and taught him to be a leader and a good friend.
“We never had to ask Sean to step up as a leader,” says staffer, Derek Dewitt. “It just seemed to be a part of his natural progression within his Club career. I have known Sean for the better part of his life and have never once seen him have a bad day. That is to say that he is quite possible the most positive person I’ve met. His positivity is contagious and rubs off on everyone he meets. We often cite how lucky kids are to have had the Club in their lives and this remains true for Sean. But I think that in his case the Clubs have been lucky to have Sean.” “If I wasn’t a Club member, my life would be a lot harder,” says Sean. “I probably would not get good grades, I wouldn’t know how to play pool, and I might not have the strong desire to help people like I do.”
Sean has truly developed a passion for helping others, especially other Club members. This passion was never more evident than when Sean completed an assignment in 3rd grade where he was asked what he would do if he raised a million dollars. Sean’s answer was simple—he’d donate it to the Boys & Girls Clubs! “I’d like to replace all the pieces of the board games, get kids iPads, and fund more field trips,” explains Sean.
“The Clubs have greatly impacted my life. They’ve given me the knowledge to be a good citizen, a good leader, and good friend. I want to be a Club ambassador, Youth of the Year, and eventually work for the Clubs, so I can let more people know about the Clubs and help other kids have the experiences and be happy like me.”
The public can help Sean on his mission to spread the word about the great things happening at the Clubs and his goal to raise 1 million dollars. Sponsor a Club kid for just $84 dollars a month and receive your very own Teddy Bear Sean. Contact 410-272-0010 ext.13 to become a sponsor or for more information about the Clubs.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County was established 25 years ago to inspire and enable all youth to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The Club serves approximately 5,000 local youth, ages 6 to 18, and provides positive youth development programs in five core areas: character and leadership development; health and life skills; education and career development; the arts; and sports, fitness and recreation.