With most establishments closed and strict lockdowns implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children have been most affected by the stay-at-home orders considering that they are at the developmental stage where face to face social interactions with friends is essential. With this challenge in mind, Olivia Carlson established QT Bear to comfort kids and give them hope during these trying times.
“I had the idea to create these QuaranTine Bears, otherwise known as QT Bears in hopes that they would provide comfort to kids and give them a better understanding of what is happening in our world,” expresses Olivia Carlson. QT Bears are 10-inch plush fuzzy bears that come in white and brown colors. Each bear wears a fun-designed face mask and has a matching child-size face mask for the bear-owner. On top of this, QT Bear has a handwritten note from the bear himself guiding little kids on how to stay healthy and instructions for an Instagram photo challenge.
Olivia Carlson is the incredible woman who started this incredible bear movement. Her QT Bear initiative was inspired by her father, who passed away from cancer last August 2018. During her father’s last moments, she and her dad had a “build-a-bear” experience where they each got to put hearts in each other’s bears. While her dad is now buried with his bear, Olivia keeps her bear to comfort her.
Initially, she started with only six teddy bears at hand, not realizing how many more children worldwide would benefit from this initiative. Ultimately, her mission for QT Bear is to show kids that it’s okay and not scary to wear a face mask. She also started an Instagram photo challenge where children are urged to post pictures of how they keep themselves busy with QT Bear. From doing homework with QT Bears and dancing with these bears to climbing trees and playing video games, children have done every activity possible at home with their newest quarantine buddy.
Indeed, QT Bear has helped families at home stay positive during these difficult moments. “Seeing how happy QT Bears make kids is what makes it all worth it,” shares Olivia. The Boston Celtics and Massachusetts State Lottery even recognized QT Bear in their “Heroes Among Us” campaign.
Today, Olivia continues to accept orders for QT Bear. She also accepts special requests for the pattern and color of the matching masks. While little kids are mainly QT Bear’s best friends, college students and elderly grandparents having difficulty coping with the challenges brought by the pandemic have also found refuge in the fuzzy mask-wearing plushie. In the future, Olivia hopes to extend QT Bear’s reach beyond homes as she hopes to bring the bears to hospitals and gift shops as well.
Whether it is mom or dad buying a QT Bear for their little one or someone sending QT Bear to their friends, these bears will surely brighten the day. But more than this, these bears do not only make people smile; they also serve as a great way to remind people about the importance of wearing masks.