PSU student Amanda Graham, senior in social work, is collecting art supplies, school supplies, and toys for children with mental health needs.
The Discovery program offers mental health services to children between the ages of 30 months and five years old. The art and school supplies are needed for children between the ages of three and five which they use in therapy and group sessions. Children are more likely to express themselves and their feelings through arts and crafts. Their brains are still developing at that young age so by playing and creating things, they are learning at the same time.
All donations go directly to the Discovery Program of Crawford County Mental Health Center.
Initially, Graham began the project for her senior project in social work that all social works students are required to do.
“It actually started off as a project for like my senior project that I have to do as a social work student,” Graham said. “But the great thing about that is that we actually get to pick what actually we want to do. So, it wasn’t just like a regular like school assignment. It was something that we got to choose that we actually care about and something that we wanted to do to benefit our community.”
As a child, Graham was affected by mental health issues and felt that the professionals were not properly equipped to help children.
“Whenever I was younger, I actually suffered from mental health issues and whenever I would go see a therapist and counselor, they… weren’t really geared towards children,” Graham said. “So, they would try to sit down and do like talk therapy with me which really isn’t effective for young children. But the Discovery program through Crawford County Mental Health, they actually have their therapy… geared toward young children. So, it’s just more effective for them.”
The donations will help children through therapy at the Discovery Center.
“…What we’re asking for is… like toys and art supplies and school supplies and the kids can use these items like throughout their therapy session,” Graham said. “Because like a lot of kids, instead of doing talk therapy, they use a lot of play therapy or they do more like crafts and stuff. So, while the kids are occupied with their hands, they can talk to them that way. Because if you sit a kid down and just start talking to them, they’re gonna see it as a lecture and they’re not really gonna be engaged in it. But If you give a kid like toys or something to do while they’re doing group, then they’re gonna be more apt to like pay attention and get involved and want to participate.”
Her initial goal for the project was 300 items. After receiving a large donation of 500 children’s books, which Graham said was “incredible,” the goal was raised to 1000 items.
“Whenever people email me, either I can go meet them if they want or cause like with the whole social distancing policy still in place, they can ship it to my house or whatever,” Graham said. “Whatever works best for them.”
Graham is accepting donations until Monday, May 4. To make a donation, contact Graham through her Facebook page or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.