Drawing on a need | TheUnion.com

Drawing on a need

Some of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s youngest patients will soon be taking home an educational friend that will help them understand the trauma of coming to the hospital.

For several months, members of the women’s auxiliary of a local Moose lodge, in cooperation with Gold Country Kiwanis, have been hunkered over their sewing machines, stitching together dolls that can be drawn on by doctors and nurses, showing children just why they’ve come to the hospital in the first place and the procedures that will take place. “It cuts the trauma in half, they say,” said Doris Warnas, a member of the Women of the Moose auxiliary in Grass Valley, who was among a group of women who have stuffed and sewed 300 dolls for the hospital.

About 25 people are involved in the effort. The group plans to make at least 100 more dolls, which will be given to children for free. Each of the dolls stands approximately 15 inches high, and come with non-toxic writing utensils that allow doctors and their patients to draw on the dolls. As she and her fellow Women of the Moose stuffed and stitched, Warnas said they learned a little about each other in bridging a generation gap. “It’s working out great,” she said. “It created a fellowship with our younger and older members, and been a boon for us in creating new relationships.” Warnas’ son-in-law, Tom Pettit, leads this project on behalf of Gold Country Kiwanis.

Pettit said he got the idea from Kiwanis International, where similar programs have been established in Australia. Children can draw on the dolls to show where they’re hurting, and doctors can do the same to show where on the body the children will be worked on.

Parents receive a letter explaining how the doll is used, he said. Pettit said the dolls will eventually be given to police and fire agencies in Nevada County, and at the KARE Crisis Nursery for children who have been temporarily split from their parents. “This has been a very effective community project,” he said.

To contact Staff Writer David Mirhadi, e-mail dmirhadi@theunion.com or call 477-4239.

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