How a WNY mom is helping people hold the ones they love a lot closer than ever before

Posted at 5:40 AM, Nov 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-12 11:37:29-05

All parents have experienced this…sending the baby off to kindergarten, except, they don’t want to go.

One Alden mother tried everything to help ease her son’s anxiety.

“He was very anxious about starting and leaving me, so I had suggested that he take something of mine.”

But her son, Nathan, was scared he would it and mom, Debbie Rutkowski, would be mad. 

So, she decided she’d make something special, just for him.

“This is the best {thing} besides taking him and telling him he never had to go to school again.”

Debbie calls them “Pocket People”.

She’s made them for 

  • people with anxiety or separation anxiety
  • in instances of divorce
  • Angels for lost loved ones
  • Traveling parents
  • Military parents
  • Mothers, fathers, siblings
  • New babies
  • New schools
  • New step parents
  • Nightmares
  • Away campers
  • Children with special needs

They are little wooden dolls that are attached to binder clips which fasten to a belt loop or a book bag. 

It started out as something special for Nathan’s separation anxiety, but as other parents found out about what it did for Nathan, they started asking for some, too.

Now, years later, Debbie’s pocket people are in a lot more jeans than just her sons’.

“Does this work for adults? Sure it does, it works for anybody who can use it.”

Some parents even keep pocket people of their own when they send their kids off to school, away for work, or even off to enlist in our armed forces. 

Debbie says she has some people in the military with their own pocket people made up of their entire family, to have something to remember them by when they’re far away,

“Some moms are going through divorce, so ..their kids - they have mom and dad with them,so when they go to dads they have their family, when they go to moms they have them.”

Debbie’s son has outgrown the need to have a pocket person, but he still praises their value to anyone he thinks it could help.

“It reminded me of mom. So it just felt like it was a mini version of mom just staying there for the whole time.”

They are $8 and you can purchase them here, or reach out to Debbie, who works as an “up-cycler” with her own online boutique. 

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