Upon their first visit to the facility last fall, it was immediately apparent to Sioux Center residents Mark and Miriam Buss that something needed to be done about the facility's "first impression" appearance.
"Our son was involuntarily committed to CMHI in October, receiving treatment
for six days," said Mark Buss. "My wife and I had never been to CMHI, and upon our first visit , we were rather horrified at the stereotypical look of the building."
Buss said that when entering the adolescent ward from the back, where the playground equipment is located, the age and condition of the equipment only added to the feeling of helplessness and worry the couple was already feeling.
The more visits they made with their son, the more the Busses were convinced of the need to do something about improving the initial feelings families may have on
their first visit to CMHI, which they feel can overshadow the quality of care their loved one will receive.
Marian Buss spoke to Connie Mouw, the head teacher at the Cherokee MHI, and learned that the MHI had received a matching grant opportunity several years ago, but were unable to raise their portion to purchase new playground equipment, and that opportunity was lost. The couple has now set up a fund to raise money for the replacement of the old playground equipment.
Mark Buss said their purpose is three-fold : 1. They want to turn a dark moment in their lives into something good; 2. They hope to leave a bit of a legacy of safety for future patients and the staff who cares for them; and 3. They hope to offfer a sense of assurance for the parents of those children.
Cherokee Mental Health Institute serves the acute mental health needs of children from 55 Iowa counties, as well as adults from 41 counties.
For more information on how to donate toward the proposed equipment purchase, you may call 712-722-0629.