Kits give YWCA Dayton residents tools to find calm

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Kits give YWCA Dayton residents tools to find calm

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Everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes. But there are ways to stay grounded and deal with overwhelming emotions.

Em Ellis, clinical care manager, has been assembling calming kits that are individual bags with go-to strategies to help cope with having a bad day, a stressful event, grief, depression, anxiety, or anger. 

She has been making the kits available for residents who live in YWCA Dayton’s permanent support apartments in downtown Dayton.

“When a person is stressed or upset, it’s hard to focus on anything except one’s feelings. Our goal is for each of our residents to identify coping strategies that they know are helpful before becoming stressed,” Ellis said. “It is more likely they will be able to use those strategies because they aren’t having to come up with ideas in the moment that might or might not be effective.”

Residents can pick items and tools for their own calming toolkit with the help from a case manger who offers suggestions on why items may be helpful and when might be a helpful time to use them.

Each item in the calming toolkit has a specific purpose for how it might be helpful. For example, every kit gets a small notebook that fits into their bag that could be used to write down feelings and thoughts, draw a picture, make a list, “brain dump” everything that is on their mind, or write someone a note.

Every kit gets sensory items (such as hard candy, lotion, fidgets, or play dough) that are intended to stimulate the senses. This helps people bring focus away from racing thoughts or stressful emotions and bring focus back to what their body is doing right now in this moment.

There are typically 65 women living in YWCA’s permanent supportive apartments in Dayton, so our organization’s goal is to be able to provide 65 calming toolkits.

If you would like to help make this goal a reality, consider donating an item from our wishlist. Your group or workplace can also get involved by holding a donation drive for calming kit items.

Donations can be dropped off any time at our downtown office at 141 W. Third St., with 15 minute flasher parking out front. Questions? Email


Large or extra large pencil pouches*
Large or extra large cosmetic bags*
Stress balls*
Dry erase markers*
Aaron’s Thinking putty*
Mini plushes, especially soft, squishy, or sequined*

Mini Play doughs
Bath bombs
Facial mask
Kinetic sand
Chap sticks
Coloring pencils
Individual wrapped tea bags
Card games
Multipack of fidgets
Multipack of party favors

Items we need the most*