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The gifts that keep giving: Kobe plushies, Gilly activity books for sale

02/15/24 03:00:pm

You can find two special items for sale in a new gift shop located in Rogers’ Oconomowoc campus: a dog plushy and activity book that both have deep meaning.

Faith Factory, which has a goal of providing meaningful and uplifting gifts for mental health, wellness and recovery, has set up a kiosk in Oconomowoc’s main lobby. Its owner, Elizabeth Landowski, is a good friend of Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation and has committed to donating some of the proceeds from the gift shop to support its initiatives.

“Her gracious offer helps fund programs such as Patient Care Grants, the Angel Fund, the Spiritual Care Program, and more,” says Stacey Basile, Foundation development and marketing manager. “The partnership is a great fit with our mission.”

One new item at the gift shop is modeled off Rogers’ experiential therapy assistant and first four-legged employee, Kobe.

A lovable lab/golden retriever mix, Kobe joined the Rogers team in 2023 as a facility dog, specifically trained to serve multiple people by performing goal-oriented, structured interactions alongside clinical staff to help a patient meet an identified treatment goal.

Kobe plushie.jpgNow you can purchase an equally cuddly version of Kobe in stuffed animal form.

“For those who have worked with Kobe, I hope the plushies serve as a physical reminder their hard work and a reminder to maintain recovery gains,” says Mariah Skindingsrude, who heads the Canine Assisted Intervention pilot program that Kobe is a part of. “For others, I’m hopeful the plushies will spark conversations about behavioral health or provide inspiration as needed from a distance. For me, each plushie sold represents another person Kobe gets to help in the future.”

Gilly book.jpgYou can also find ‘Gilly Learns He is Not Alone” activity books, designed by Rogers team members in conjunction with Rogers’ Strength Over Addiction Recovery (SOAR) workshop for children in Sheboygan. They’re intended to empower children of those struggling with addiction and help them feel less alone.

The book tells the story of a grouper fish whose dad has a substance use disorder, and team members say they hope books like this can help stop the cycle of addiction in families.

“Gilly feels like it’s his fault and doesn’t know what to do,” says Dr. Michelle Maloney, PhD, System executive clinical director of Mental Health and Addiction Recovery, who refers to the book as her passion project. “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?’ Now we can share this book with more families.”

“The Gilly activity book felt like a small opportunity to connect with kids and convey a message of validation, support, hope, and empowerment,” Page Feller, supervisor, Addiction Recovery inpatient care in Oconomowoc, who also worked on the book. “Learning we will be selling these books and that we have an opportunity to make an impact on a much larger scale is a reality even bigger than our vision. It’s phenomenal that more people will have access to resources at an age-appropriate level, with the ultimate goal of reducing stigma and truly being at the core of prevention efforts.”

Kobe 2.jpgProceeds from the $8 books and $20 plushies go back to the Foundation to sustain their respective programs – both gifts that keep giving.

“Both fundraising ideas resonated with the Foundation, because each project is completely donor-funded. The Foundation has been involved in the programs from the ground up to ensure our donors’ passions were being fulfilled,” Stacey says. “Selling the plushy and activity book will not only raise funds to sustain the programs but would also raise awareness of two truly unique and worthwhile initiatives offered to our patients and community.”

Click here to visit the Faith Factory’s website.

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