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Sun, Apr 23, 2023

Motivational Speaker Makes the Rounds Through American Midwest

Jackie Ruiz Takes on Teddy Bear Delivery Challenge in Cross Country Flight

Naperville-based marketer, entrepreneur, author, pilot, and motivational speaker Jacqueline S. Ruiz has been making a tour throughout the American Midwest, handing out teddy bears along the way.

Her goal will be to place 400 bears to 400 new homes and smiling children, stopping at schools, airports, and museums wherever her route takes her. The journey was conceived as a way to celebrate her upcoming 40th birthday, planning out a 1,100-nm trip from Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

Each stop along the way will provide a chance to draw attention to a cause, with meetings with the Hispanic American Leadership Organization in Wichita State University, Kansas; the local Hispanic group at the Goddard School in Springboro, Ohio; the Latino Coalition in Indianapolis, Indiana; and the JW Aviation School in Boilingbrook, Illinois. One friend along the way, Alexander Jimenez, founded Smiles Against Cancer, a pediatric initiative aimed at boosting morale in young patients. His group will be the last stop on the way.

“I’m honored to join Jackie as she inspires youngsters to make their dreams into reality,” Jimenez said. “Jackie has been supporting our initiative for years with donations to kids with cancer and this is a great opportunity to continue our partnership.”

Amelia, Ruiz' bear, has a persona of its own, too. “She is the bravest teddy bear anyone will ever meet,” Ruiz said. “When I was in flight school in the mid-2010s, I would take her up with me, and she was my co-pilot. I was inspired to create 100 branded teddy bears to give to people so that they had a co-pilot in their lives. People really loved them.”

Since her first 100, she's gone on to hand out nearly 1,700 of the little bears, passing through 4 continents as she moved from one speaking tour to another. After this trip, she should be closing in on bear number 2,050.

“Students can see a world of possibilities, especially if they are supported by loving relatives and positive mentors,” Ruiz said. “My focus on this flight is to inspire students so they can plan a course for their dreams and encourage others to do the same.”



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