Emergency Doll & Bear Dispatch
This project was conceived on the Sasha-L yahoo group back in 2000, during a discussion about "dolls as therapy". I had shared how years ago, a special doll had helped get me through the hardest times of my abusive childhood. My "Kathy" was so much more than just a doll! In a world where I couldn't trust, she was a beloved, trusted little companion. During the following weeks, I heard many heart wrenching stories from other abuse victims. Each one confirmed that they too, had found great comfort in a special doll. Ah! I wasn't the only one! This struck me as being very important information, though at the time, I didn't realize why.
A few years later, I kept hearing Oprah Winfrey say that we all have a purpose in life. I started wondering what my purpose was. I knew right away that I was meant to do something for abused children.
In 2005, a need arose for a Sasha repair person. People kept asking me to re-string their dolls, but I did not have time to do this. Late one night, I received an e-mail from a local collector begging me to teach her how to re-string her doll. She offered to pay me. I read the e-mail then went and sat in my hot tub. While relaxing and looking up at the stars, I suddenly had a wonderful idea! I would teach a Sasha re-stringing class and use the money to buy dolls for abused kids! In that moment, my project was officially launched. I knew immediately that this was what I was supposed to do! As things evolved, Susanna Lewis, long time Sasha expert and retired repair person, offered to teach the class with my assistance. It was held in Phoenix, AZ on June 19th, 2006, following the Sasha festival. This was the project's first fund raiser! After expenses, we raised $535.48. Through your generous cash donations, enough additional funds were raised to buy all 32 girls at The Village of Childhelp West an American Girl doll! They received them on Thursday, October 5, 2006. Each doll was special ordered to match the hair, eye and skin color of the girl. They also received a doll's wire hair brush. The girls who wore glasses, got glasses for their dolls. Childhelp volunteers made a necklace for each doll, with the girl's initials on them. And I wrote each girl a personal letter, telling her how we all worked together to give her this very special doll friend.
Since then, thanks to your generosity, we have continued to send an American Girl doll to each new girl who arrives at Childhelp. As of February 8, 2008, this project has provided approximately 100 American Girl dolls, many American Girl outfits, beads to make doll bracelets, Gund stuffed animals, and more! In addition, wonderful people from all over the world have sent gifts directly to the children, including hand made doll clothes, quilts, accessories, stuffed animals, Valentines, toys, dolls, etc.
Click here for a more detailed history of this project, including previous updates.
Childhelp has numerous facilities around the country. The Village of Childhelp West, in Beaumont, California houses 80 severely abused children, ranging in age from 6 to 14. These children have been placed in, and removed from, an average of 12 different homes before coming to Childhelp. Imagine never having a safe, secure home and living with 12 different families before the age of 14!
For more information about Childhelp, please visit their website at: