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Of The Gold Country

Grass Valley, California




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Hospital Doll Project 2009 - 2010


As of December 2010, a total of 408 Kiwanis Dolls have been provided to the following organizations,
for distribution to sick and at risk children in Western Nevada County.

Miners Community Clinic 168
Sierra Care Physicians 156
Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital 72
KARE Crisis Nursery 12
Total 408


Here’s Tom Morrissey with a bag-a-dolls, to be delivered to our local hospital.  These 50 dolls will be shared with inpatient and outpatient children by hospital staff to take these young children’s minds off of the ailment that brings them to SNMH, as well as to use as a model to point out where they hurt and by the doctors and support staff to explain how they will treat their ailment.  This program has been very well accepted by the physician and allied health community locally as well as throughout the nation and in other countries .

Tom Morrissey Delivery

Most of the communities youngest patients will be taking home an educational friend that will help them understand the trauma of going to their medical provider.


For a little over a year, 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 a health care facility 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 stuffed and sewed 400 dolls over the past two years.


About 25 people are involved in the effort. The group plans to make at least 200 more dolls this coming year, which will be given to children at no cost. 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.”


Dr. Sarah Woerner has become our biggest supporter in the community, encouraging the other Pediatricians at Sierra Care Physicians to use the dolls, and at Miners Community Clinic where they rotate through on a daily basis.  She’s also a member of the Hospital Board and has encouraged the Nurse Managers in Pediatrics, OB and the General Medical / Surgical Unit to utilize the dolls for their young patients.


We currently have approximately 8 dolls left over from the 400 or so dolls produced by the Women of the Moose two years ago.  Of the order for 200 more dolls that Pat Unger from the Women of the Moose is coordinating to get produced for us this year, 50 were just dropped off for use before the first of the year.  Team One has budgeted $1,100 for doll production this year and it is anticipated we will use it all to cover the average cost of $5.50 per doll for materials, i.e. fabric, stuffing and Kiwanis labels, plus two non-toxic ink pens, cover letter and packaging materials.  The Women of the Moose will be producing 25% of our dolls in a darker brown shade this year to accommodate our growing non-white population in the community, with the other 75% the same off white muslin material used last year.


Lew Aebersold and Tom Morrissey have taken over storage and distribution of Kiwanis Dolls this year. Any questions should be referred to them.   To contact Lew Aebersold or Tom Morrissey, click on the email bird.

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Lew Aebersold Tom Morrissey
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