Stuffed bear brightens days at Wesley Senior Living


Wes the Bear is the mascot for the Wesley Senior Ministries Foundation.

When new residents check into Wesley Senior Living facilities in the Memphis Conference, they meet a goodwill ambassador with light brown fur and wide, open arms.
That’s Wes, the mascot for the Wesley Senior Ministries Foundation.
“Wes is a ‘certified hug-ologist’ and is very good at his job,” David Kabakoff, foundation president, says. “He has become a ‘rock star’ of sorts in our communities.”
Wes became a part of Wesley Living last year after Kabakoff and Office Manager Kristi Owens wanted to find ways to positively impact new residents. So, they developed the idea of a stuffed animal ambassador that could sit on kitchen counters in new residents’ apartments, ready to invite them into the community.
“We researched and interviewed a number of qualified candidates looking for a specific set of qualifications and skill sets,” Kabakoff jokes.
They chose Wes, and the residents have loved him. 

He has even brought smiles to some of the grumpiest Wesley residents. Kabakoff tells a story about one resident who walked out of the community room one day in a foul mood. As soon as she saw the manager carrying a Wes bear, her face transformed. She smiled and asked for the stuffed animal. The manager obliged.
The manager said it had been quite a few weeks since anyone had seen the resident smile.
For a limited time, Golden Cross Senior Ministries Fund will send a Wes bear to those who donate $100 or more online at The president says the bear brightens peoples’ days and remind donors of the lives they benefit through their gifts.

Wes also has a Facebook page at