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Dr. Maloney works with Rogers’ colleagues to create children’s book on addiction

12/15/23 06:00:pm

Maloney.jpgCalling it her “passion project,” Michelle Maloney, PhD, System executive clinical director of Mental Health and Addiction Recovery, created a children’s story and activity book that was used for the first time during Sheboygan’s recent workshop for kids in the community.

Collaborating with Page Feller, supervisor, Addiction Recovery inpatient care in Oconomowoc, “Gilly Learns He is Not Alone” tells the story of a grouper fish whose dad has a substance use disorder.

“He feels like it’s his fault and doesn’t know what to do,” says Dr. Maloney. “Ultimately, Gilly talks with his coach, who is a beluga whale, and the coach helps Gilly. Gilly then meets other friends who have the same challenge, and he helps them. The book invites kids to have their own story, and asks, 'Who do you want to share with?’ I think the coolest page is the one about emotions where there are little fish faces that look sad, and others look happy. It’s a springboard to talk about what the child is feeling.”

Page.JPGDr. Maloney and Page say they wanted to give kids a book they can take home, learn from, and continue to reflect upon.

“It was an honor and a challenge to be part of writing Gilly’s story in such a thoughtful and intentional way,” says Page. “One page at a time, we focused on providing education, comfort, hope, and empowerment to future readers. We’re proud of the end result and the impact it might have on children in our community."

Dr. Maloney says while they worked on content, she shared it along the way with Jim Hishmeh, Oconomowoc director of inpatient Addiction Services, who provided feedback along with his children.

Jim.JPG“Assisting in the creation of the book was very rewarding,” says Jim. “This workbook will go a long way in helping children of those struggling with addiction recognize that they are not alone, that they did not cause it, and there are people who care for them and can help them through it. I believe the long-term impact of this workbook will help stop the cycle of addiction in families.”

The book was funded by a generous donor in Sheboygan, who also financially supported the Strength Over Addiction Recovery (SOAR) workshop.

“We would love to be able to spread the workshop to other sites,” says Dr. Maloney. “Our greatest prevention tool is educating children when they are young.”

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