When Marissa Baylerian heard there were 500 children and teens throughout Rogers’ Wisconsin locations who would be in treatment over the holidays, she knew instantly she wanted to help make their season brighter.
“I can’t imagine what it would be like to spend Christmas in treatment,” says Marissa. “I want them to know they’re loved and they’re important.”
A former Rogers patient at our Appleton location, Marissa participated in a therapy technique known as behavioral activation during her treatment. Behavioral activation helps gradually decrease a person’s depression, avoidance and isolation, by increasing his or her engagement in activities that improve mood.
“As I learned about the benefits of this therapy, I started using my time to write cards to others because it helped take my mind off of what I was going through,” she explains. “To encourage them brought me so much joy. It really helped me heal and gave me purpose.”
After leaving treatment, Marissa dove into her love of card writing and started her own business, Love Always Cards.
“My sister designs the cards and I handwrite the messages inside. People can request a free card for whatever occasion. My goal is to bring hope and joy to as many people as possible with encouraging messages.”
When Marissa connected with the Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation at an event and realized how many kids and teens would be in treatment in Wisconsin during the holiday season, she decided to pull a few friends and her sister together to help create cards for each patient.
“Those kids are so incredibly strong for asking for help, and I wanted to remind each and every one of them of that,” says Marissa.
Each card includes the same message:
“Wishing you a joyous holiday season! Always remember how loved and strong you are! You are an incredible person.
Love, Marissa (A former Rogers patient)”
Linda Schieble, special events coordinator for the Rogers Foundation, says it was such a surprise when Marissa said she was going to make cards for every child.
“To see these handwritten notes from a past patient to a current patient, it’s so inspiring. You can feel the amount of hope put into these cards,” Linda says.
The cards are being delivered to patients over the next week at Rogers’ inpatient, residential, and outpatient locations throughout Wisconsin.
Marissa shared that she wants each of the children to know that seeking treatment is a gift they’re giving to themselves, “This time right now in your life, you may think you are not strong because you’re in treatment, but you are the strong one because you realize that you do need that help, and you’re doing something about it. You’re stronger than you know.”