My Kota Bear, Inc. is on a mission is to bring awareness and support to (NICU) families, otherwise known as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, within the Essex and Warren Counties in New Jersey communities and surrounding areas. My Kota Bear Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization established February 2019 in Warren, New Jersey. The Founder and Chief Executive Officer is Mrs. Shirley Smith, wife of well known NBA player, JR Smith, formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As Ms. Smith worked diligently and wholeheartedly to establish My Kota Bear, Inc., she believed that “Paramount Preemies Birthed Into Greatness” best describes the mission of the organization. Paramount means "more important than anything else; supreme”. When families give birth to a premature (preemie) baby, there is nothing more important than getting them well enough to finally come home.
The amazing story and personal experience of the founder is what birthed forth this extraordinary agency. Mr. and Mrs. Smith were extremely happy to learn that they were expecting a new addition to their growing family. As they prepared for their precious child’s birth scheduled for May 2017, they were surprised on January 2, 2017 when their baby daughter, Dakota, arrived much earlier than expected. Dakota was born 5 months premature at 22 weeks of gestation. She weighed only one pound.
At that very moment, these beautiful parents realized that Dakota’s maintenance and treatment plan on her journey to better health and wellness would be a great challenge for them. So, together with the Neonatal Unit healthcare professionals, they began praying and working extremely hard to provide the love and support Dakota needed to survive and they continue to fight for her well-being, today. In that, they realized that not only are they fighting but there are hundreds of thousands of families experiencing the same challenge as them. They made a quality decision to give back.
Little Dakota’s fight to survive gave them the drive and courage to establish My Kota Bear where now they are able to teach and help families across the world and realize that it is so vitally important to understand that there is nothing more important than to get your child well enough to come home and be equipped as much as you can to get through the journey!
This platform has given the Smiths hope in a well constructive light by making a positive impact in the world, today. Since the inception of My Kota Bear to today’s date, they have assisted over 200 families from providing physical items to emotional support.