Bubba is the official bear of the RisforThursday Network of Oklahoma.
All of us have people who influenced us in positive ways that formed who we are today – those people who in a few moments, or over a great deal of time, left fingerprints on our hearts and souls. Bubba was created to honor that connection. It was thought that Bubba bears could go into spaces with RisforThursday (R4T) students that others may not be invited to go. Bubbas were intended to serve as reminders to students that the Oklahoma Network will do all it can to help them achieve their dreams.
Bubba bears first appeared at the 2014 Conversation as gifts for R4T students who courageously told their very personal stories, served as volunteers, and advocated at the state or national level for other college students (and future students) with foster care backgrounds.
Students embraced Bubba and he grew to symbolize the very heart of the RisforThursday effort. Today students report that they view Bubba as a protector, as a symbol of their community, and as an affirmation of their resiliency.
Every Bubba is individually and lovingly dressed by R4T team members. In 2017, R4T team members began stitching a red felt heart for each bear. Bubba’s new heart is in honor of the human hearts that power the RisforThursday Network. They are hand sewn with an unbroken thread that represents our connections to each other.