Plush toy makers give dollies to Dougy

Discover how these ‘snugglers’ were created to help kids who’ve experienced loss – like those at The Dougy Center – learn to heal …

At a special storytime at The Dougy Center, Slumberkins founder Kelly Oriard reads to kids, introducing the new “snugglers” named “Sprite”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The founders of Vancouver based “Slumberkins®” have developed what they call “snugglers” to support specific social-emotional situations, providing parents and caregivers with resources to promote positive skills for young children.

The co-founders of the company came to The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families on April 24 to engage children there in their program with a “storytime” – but more, to donate a special Slumberkins toy to about 120 participants, to take home.

-2 Happy to donate sets of their “Sprite” Slumberkins are company co-founders and co-CEOs Kelly Oriard and Callie Christiansen.

“Partly, the idea to create Slumberkins – especially “Sprite”, which we’re introducing here today – came from when I did my Masters work in Family Therapy with the Dougy Center’s longtime past Executive Director Donna Schuurman, PhD,” explained company co-founder Kelly Oriard.

“Donna led my course on ‘Grief and Loss’, and was completely inspiring,” Oriard said. “What I learned about grief and loss, especially with kids, is something I took with me in my career of being a therapist.”

She and her business partner, Callie Christiansen, came up with a line of “snugglers” and books to help parents connect with young children on several topics. “This one, ‘Sprite’, is a tool that parents can use to help open up conversations around grief.”

Youngsters listen, as Kelly Oriard reads to them about the character “Sprite”.

Specifically, “Sprite” has an “affirmation to share, helping children understand that, while a loved one may no longer be by our side, they are still in our hearts,” explained Oriard. “Sprite’s story is shared in an accompanying book, written to help explain grief, and to show little ones the memory of a loved one will always be with us,” she told East Portland News.

Because the toy company partners revere the work done by The Dougy Center here in Southeast Portland – as well as their work with the National Center for Grieving Children & Families – they decided to give “Sprite” packages to local kids.

The Dougy Center’s Executive Director Brennan Wood gives gift bags of “Sprite” to the children.

“Having worked together preparing the book and ‘Sprite’, we believe this set is, and will be, a wonderful addition for our kids – helping fulfill The Dougy Center’s mission of providing safe support to grieving kids and families,” acknowledged the Center’s Executive Director, Brennan Wood.

Judging by how the youths took to their new-found cuddly creatures, the gift was well received.

Klyde Johnson looks at his very own “Sprite” with his mom, Brittany Johnson.

  • To learn more about Slumberkins, see their website, CLICK HERE.
  • And, to learn more about The Dougy Center, view their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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