Program reaches out to help children removed from homes - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Program reaches out to help children removed from homes


MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -- Illegal drug use can have wide range of effects. Not only on those who use them, but children as well. One area woman is working to help children removed from their homes because of drug problems.

Gina Mattheisen has made it her mission for every child in the country to get a good night's sleep.

"I felt there was a need for someone to reach out and touch these children," said Sweet Dreams Organizer, Gina Mattheisen.

She said the drug problem in Central Wisconsin continues to grow, meaning more children suffer.

"I'm receiving calls all the time. I'm receiving emails, and the requests just keep growing," said Mattheisen.

Mattheisen started the program Sweet Dreams in 2008, that collects pillowcases, and pajamas for children taken away from their homes, and placed into protective services.

"It is so toxic that once they are removed from that home, they do have to be stripped down and their bodies have to be scrubbed to remove the toxins. And anything that they had on them that day is burned," said Mattheisen.

She said in those cases, what the children went through commonly goes unmentioned and she said she started the program to change that.

Melissa Dotter with the Marathon County Health Department said the list goes on of how those children are affected.

"Depending on how the drug is used, if the drug is injected they might not get any of that constant contact high. But let's say if it's smoked, they're going to be inhaling those same fumes their parent or whoever is using in the home," said Dotter.

That's why Mattheisen says she hopes Sweet Dreams continues to grow and reach more children.

"Something as simple as a clean pair of pajamas and like a little reminder that somebody loves them. That's a good thing," said Mattheisen. 

For more information on how to donate, click here.

Online Reporter: Courtney Fasano

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