The Story of Lily and Leif
“Leif isn’t like his friends. He has trouble paying attention in class and doing homework. Sometimes he gets mad in the classroom and is sent to the school office. Even though he has us and lots of friend, he often feels lonely.”
Ten-year-old Lily tells a story about her older brother, Leif, who struggles with emotional and mental health. The book illustrates the reality for children, adolescents and families in the Fox Valley in need of mental health, wellness and preventative services.
Three major health systems in the area – Affinity Health System, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and ThedaCare – united to form Catalpa Health in 2011 after results of a study on the quality of life in the Fox Cities indicated children and teens in the Fox Valley area needed better access to mental health care. Catalpa believes in community partnerships and works with other mental health providers to ensure that all children are receiving the care they need.
In April 2014, Catalpa held its annual members’ meeting with Bill Calhoun (former eastern region vice president of Ministry Health Care), Dean Gruner (CEO of ThedaCare) and Cindy Christensen (COO of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin). They discussed the desire to have a creative document that told the story of Catalpa – from the time before its formation to the state of the organization today.
And so The Story of Lily and Leif (the Catalpa leaves) was born. Affinity Health System contributed creative writing services and ThedaCare contributed sewing talent to bring Lily and Leif to life as dolls.
The book debuted in December 2014 at the Infant Welfare Circle’s Charity Ball in Appleton, at which Catalpa was the philanthropic spotlight. The books and dolls raised $65,000 (plus $15,000 in matching dollars) for the organization.
The Story of Lily and Leif will go on to serve as a powerful and poetic marketing tool for illustrating the impact of Catalpa. Click here to read the book.
“Nowadays, my brother smiles more, and his good days outweigh the bad.”
Published April 2015