Rosecrance receives grant from John M. Drogosz Fund

New Sensory Room in progress at adolescent facility thanks to generous grant

(From left) Keri Fager, Carlene Cardosi, Daniel Schmitt, Steve Smith, Dick Drogosz and Anne Boccignone stand inside what will soon be the new Sensory Room at Rosecrance’s adolescent facility.

ROCKFORD – Daniel Schmitt, Executive Director of the Freeport Community Foundation, and Dick Drogosz, founder of the John M. Drogosz Fund at the Foundation, visited the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus on August 25, and provided Rosecrance with a generous grant.  The grant will help to transform an existing space at the adolescent facility into a Sensory Room, which will closely mimic Rosecrance’s Sensory Room at the Harrison Campus for adults.

Client artwork that will be featured in Sensory Room upon completion.

The Sensory Room programming will be woven into Rosecrance’s overall experiential therapies programming, which includes activities such as fine arts, horticulture, music and exercise, and teaches the importance of relaxation and stress-reduction.

This new resource will be helpful in addressing the growing demand for services to treat mental health disorders in clients, in addition to substance use disorders. Rosecrance has seen a steady increase in clients with a dual diagnosis of substance use and mental health disorders, and is expanding programming at its adolescent residential site to treat clients with mood disorders and trauma.

Carlene Cardosi, Rosecrance Clinical Director, explains that the Sensory Room will be a space for clients to learn coping skills and self-soothing techniques.

“The main focus of the room is to be conducive to calm,” adds Keri Fager, Director of Experiential Therapies and Therapeutic Rec Coordinator. “It’s a chance for clients to actually try something new in practice and not just see it on paper. They can be vulnerable and not feel threatened.

The Sensory Room will promote the development of thought, intelligence and social skills, and it is expected to increase concentration, awaken memories, improve mobilization, spur creativity, and improve social relations and communication skills.

Industry studies and Rosecrance’s own experience show true benefits from the techniques and resources that will be implemented in the Sensory Room.

Fager says the results are visible, “Anxiety decreases. Focus enhances. The clients leave feeling more relaxed and that’s what we want.”

Rosecrance staff is enthusiastic that the Sensory Room at Griffin Williamson will foster positive results amongst the adolescent clients.

The renovations will include painting the room in cooler, calmer shades and equipping the room with various items that foster calm and well-being, such as bean bags, rocking chairs, therapy balls, sound machines, aromatherapy, sensory toys and more.

Clients will practice activities such as yoga, deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness in small groups once a week.

The John M. Drogosz Memorial Fund was established nearly six years ago by Dick and Marianne Drogosz in memory of their son who lost his life to addiction. The fund, which is administered through the Freeport Community Foundation, aims to help nonprofit organizations with educational, prevention and/or treatment programs designed for youth dealing with substance use disorders.