KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
May 28, 2022
By Natalie Cook Clark
An autistic Cinco Ranch High School graduate started making homemade teddy bears to show support and awareness for a classmate. His act of kindness has turned into a thriving business and he’s now made over 500 “Joey Bears” for teenage moms and other pregnancy groups.
Katy teacher Hailey Booth and Joey Edwards. Photo credit: Hailey Booth
Cinco Ranch Grad Raises Teen Pregnancy Awareness with "Joey Bears"
Josiah “Joey” Edwards graduated from Cinco Ranch High School in 2020. He’s currently studying at Houston Community College to be a baker/pastry chef, but Joey is already a successful business owner making a difference.
A Katy Teen Mom Inspired Joey Bears
“In 2016, I met a pregnant teenager named Antonella and we became fast friends,” says Joey Edwards. “It was afterwards when I came across stories on teen pregnancy, I didn’t like what I saw, and then it hit me: there’s not much we can do to end teen pregnancy, but we can raise awareness.”
Edwards launched Joey Bears in 2017 and has now made over 500 homemade teddy bears.
“Joey has autism and is a big teddy bear,” says his former junior high art teacher Hailey Booth, who was fortunate enough to follow him and her students to Cinco Ranch High School where she taught digital art. “He would come and give me hugs every single day in high school.”
“Everyone loved Joey, the staff, and students alike,” says Booth. “I was able to watch him blossom into the very savvy businessman that he is today and I could not be more proud.”
Joey Bears accepts donations but is now a sustainable business. The “Joey Bears” and now “Joey Bunnies” come in three sizes; Baby Bears/Bunnies ($5,) Mama Bears/Bunnies ($10,) and Papa Bears/Bunnies ($15.)
Joey Bears often donates stuffed animals to the Pregnancy Help Center.
Edwards was born in Katy and has lived here most of his life.
“I believe that helping to provide toys for mothers is the right thing to do, and to buy toys would be a bit generic, which is why I unknowingly brought handmade toys back into popularity,” says Edwards.
Joey Bears Offer Support to Other Pregnancy Groups
Joey Bears started to support teen moms but has now grown to support elderly pregnancy, unplanned parenthood, surrogacy, homelessness, infant loss, and rainbow babies. Edwards says that supporting these moms and showing them compassion is a very noble act and this is why he prices his stuffed animals at cheap prices.
Edwards partners with the Art Museum of Texas at Cinco Ranch, over in LaCenterra. He sells his bears there and considers the LaCenterra area one of his favorite Katy hangouts.
Edwards also enjoys hanging out at Katy Mills and he’s not sewing Joey Bears or baking, he likes to play video games. But mostly, he’s a hugger.
“You never know when someone you know and love will have a baby,” says Edwards.