Mother donates toys to Goshen Rehabilitation/Pediatrics

01/12/2018

Stephanie Edmonds wished she knew the best way to give back. The gifts of care and concern her daughter received from therapists at Goshen Rehabilitation/Pediatrics for around four years were life changing for her entire family. She held a strong belief that she could help.

During twice-weekly therapy sessions for her daughter Riley, Stephanie recognized that Riley grew tired of the same toys each week. She wondered if the other children who came in every week for speech, occupational or physical therapy would benefit from having a larger variety of games to play or balls to throw.

That sparked an idea for Stephanie. She asked Riley’s speech, occupational and physical therapists if they had a wish list of toys, games or supplies. To fund the project, Stephanie decided to use some of the profits from her home business.

“To help with Riley’s sensory processing disorder, I started making weighted blankets,” Stephanie said. She had first learned about weighted blankets from Riley’s occupational therapist. After an unsuccessful search for one that worked as a calming tool and to help improve sleep habits, Stephanie decided to make her own.

Not only had Riley responded immediately to the soft texture of her mother’s creation, so had others who found the blanket on the online marketplace, Etsy.

Order volume exploded and Stephanie realized she had a purpose-driven business that could help many people with anxiety and sleep disorders. She also knew she had a source for giving to organizations in need, including Goshen Rehabilitation/Pediatrics.

With help from Audra Joldersma, MS, CCC-SLP, Senior Speech Language Pathologist, Stephanie fostered an ongoing relationship with Goshen Health Foundation to ensure her gifts would meet tax-deductible guidelines.

“After Stephanie asked our therapists and administrative staff for wish lists, she talked with other parents,” Audra said. “Then she came to us with new toys and activities to use during our therapy sessions.”

Today, children are eager to play with the bungee jumper or alligator game in the pediatric gym. Feeding supplies help patients improve gross and fine motor skills. Cube benches give youngsters new places to play and perform therapeutic exercises. Games help improve language skills, memory and problem solving.

“As long as I can help, I will,” Stephanie said. “Goshen Rehabilitation/Pediatrics has been so helpful and attentive. They make everyone feel welcome.”

That’s what inspires Stephanie to keep turning wish lists into reality.