Mack’s Doodles a Force for Good at Acadia Hospital

Date: 06/07/2018

Shane McPherson, also known as Mack, is a psych. tech. in the Pediatric Day Treatment Program at Acadia Hospital. Among other things, he is an artist and avid “doodler.” He is also an incredibly thoughtful and generous individual who has created a coloring book of his “Mack-a-Doodles” playfully titled, “Sorry I Got My Brains Everywhere.” 
He has turned his pastime into a very successful fundraising effort for Acadia Pediatric Services, and has big plans for the future. A Mack-a-Doodle Fund has been created at EMHS Foundation, and so far the money has been used to purchase an interactive Globe, card making supplies, and gift cards that can be used by staff to purchase needed items. We asked Shane to share his story and passion to help others learn about the project. His response is below:
I have doodled, sketched, and drawn since I was a little boy. It was a great way to occupy my hyper-active brain when I couldn’t be physically active. I found I could doodle without losing focus on a teacher talking; it actually helped me stay more focused. All through school and into adulthood I would spend much of my ‘waiting time’ doodling whatever popped into my thoughts.  Even at my different jobs I’d find times where waiting on something was inevitable, and I’d draw.  Nobody ever took an interest in my doodles because most people never saw them and many of us doodle, so it wasn’t anything to take notice of.  
When I started working at Acadia I found myself with waiting times. Perhaps the kiddo I was working with was in a family visit, or taking a nap; I would have doodle paper on my clipboard and go to work on another chaotic, whimsical doodle. People, co-workers, clients, and visitors alike would make comments about how cool my doodles were. This actually made me uncomfortable because I don’t really care for a lot of attention directed at me. But, it seemed the attention to my drawings grew and grew. People started asking if they could have the doodle when I was done.  I ended up making a folder, and when I completed a piece, I would photocopy it and give a copy to anyone that had requested it.  
The doodles quickly became known as “Mack-A-Doodles” and any kiddo or staff could get copies to color or play ‘find-it’ whenever they wished. The attention grew more. The fans of my doodles started telling me to make a coloring book to sell. To me this was a ludicrous idea. It was one thing for my work family to like my art, but I couldn’t imagine someone spending their hard-earned money on some guy’s random drawings. After hearing this suggestion ad nauseum, I had this idea; if I’m going to make a coloring book, the money would need to go to the community that inspired and encouraged me. After all, if they hadn’t pushed me with their enthusiasm, I’d still just be doodling for me.  
So, I took a gamble and six-hundred dollars I’d scrounged up and printed my first coloring book of twenty doodles, plus a colorable cover. The book is designed for the pages to be easily removed. I did this so no one would have to color on a seam, and so a family on a budget would buy one book and copy the pages for their family to share. I consider myself a very poorly-skilled businessman, but I pushed my book on social media and in two months of my posting on FB the community raised two-thousand dollars. The book was promoted on the notion that besides the printing costs, every stitch of money would go to the kiddos we work with for impromptu and 
‘in-the-moment’ purchases to meet our patients’ needs whether it is a basics-of-comfort need, or a cool new idea for therapy groups.  
Today, the term Mack-A-Doodle is a well-known phrase on a few units, and the Doodle Dollar fund is a phrase that is growing legs. I’ve spent more moments in happy tears in the last two months than the entirety of my life. I am so touched that our community has supported and given to this project. The kiddos know it, too. They are being shown through community action that there is a world of people that know these kids can succeed and are willing to help.  
Mack asked a few staff to provide feedback regarding how the funds are making a difference. Below are two replies:
I just wanted to give you some feedback on how the globe is being utilized with our kiddos. It has been a great tool for kids to use when they are working on geography, as it provides them with an interactive learning tool that keeps them engaged and is also fun. It has also been a useful tool for staff in terms of de-escalation. 
There have been instances when a child has been frustrated or having difficulty in the classroom and the globe has proven to be very useful in terms of giving the kids something constructive to do while calming and processing with staff. In addition to these things, the globe has provided our kids with something learning based to do if they need a break, or if they have finished their work for the day. As you know, many of our kids are hands on learners or have difficulty sitting for extended periods of time. The globe has been benefited these children greatly and they all really enjoy using it!

I am a group leader of a middle school group in Acadia Pediatric Day Treatment. My group has been blessed to have the chance to use the card making supplies that we obtained through the funds raised by profits from sales of the Mack-A-Doodle coloring books. These materials have been amazing for our group. We do a lot of lessons on compassion and empathy. By making cards, my group has been able to put compassion into action. We are currently working on forgiveness and apologies and the group is using these materials to process through this tough topic as they learn to forgive themselves for things and apologize to others.
Other things we have been able to do with the cards include upcoming plans for a unit on compassion by making cards for the local Veteran’s hospital. It is great to see kids helping and supporting others. These materials allow them to show kindness and do something for others.
As soon as I roll in the cart of card making materials my group’s faces lite up. They were so excited to use the paper punches and fancy scissors. They were so proud of making a professional looking card for their mom’s for Mother’s Day.  
Without these tools this boost of self-esteem would not have happened. Giving group members the tools to succeed was seen as I handed them these amazing card making supplies. I can’t thank everyone enough for bringing these items to my group members. These materials will be used over and over to make memories, show compassion, and increase self-esteem. We all know that doing therapeutic work can be hard for kids; we are making them work through some strong emotions.  I have witnessed firsthand the power of using art and card making for helping the kids through these strong emotions.

How Can You Help? 
You can follow his Facebook page by going on FB and typing Mack-A-Doodle Presents in the search box. To purchase some of the books, go to his website at: