The Issue: Mental-Health Difficulties Among Children
Depression, substance abuse, and behavioral problems—all mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) disorders—don't just affect adults. According to research by The National Academies, almost one in five youths experience one or more MEB disorders. These disorders can have lifelong effects, interfering with a child's ability to succeed in school and develop healthy interpersonal relationships.
The Campaign: Providing Kids with Therapeutic Teddy Bears
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by the Washburn Center for Children to supply children with teddy bears to help them verbalize their emotions. Every $10 donation will be used to purchase one teddy bear for a child attending the center's therapeutic classrooms; with $300, Washburn Center for Children can provide teddy bears to all 30 children in the classroom.
The Washburn Center runs four therapeutic classrooms for young children who are struggling in a traditional school setting. These children have often been suspended or kicked out of daycare or school because they don't know how to regulate their behavior and emotions. The goal is to help these kids learn the skills necessary to return to a mainstream classroom setting, such as listening, trusting adults, and regulating behaviors. Therapeutic tools such as teddy bears help the children engage in play therapy—because unlike adults, kids can't always identify or verbalize their thoughts and emotions.
Washburn Center for Children
"Most of us, if we saw a child who had fallen off their bike and skinned a knee, we’d stop and help them. With kids [with mental-health problems], the hurt and the pain are on the inside," Steve Lepinski, executive director of the Washburn Center for Children, told MinnPost in 2013. Lepinski and his colleagues know that mental health is just as important as physical health. As such, they make it their mission to help children with social, emotional, and behavioral problems receive early intervention so they can have happier childhoods and brighter futures.
Washburn serves children from birth to age 18 and is the state's leading expert in childhood trauma. The licensed and professional staff reached out to 2,768 children last year through diagnostic assessments, outpatient individual and family therapy, home-based services, and therapeutic groups. More than half of those children came from low-income households, which carries on the center's 130-year mission to help struggling families.
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