Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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New Milford residents Shelley Killian, right, and Amy Thibodeau, left, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, peruse the nearly 40 sensory quilts they made and recently donated to Candlewood Valley Health & New Milford residents Shelley Killian, right, and Amy Thibodeau, left, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, peruse the nearly 40 sensory quilts they made and recently donated to Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts were presented to residents of Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. The quilts were made by Killian, Thibodeau and several of their friends across the country. A portion of the quilts were presented at a recent program, and the family displayed a board with photographs of Arlene and information about the project known as Arlene’s Angels.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. The quilts were made by Killian, Thibodeau and several of their friends across the country. A portion of the quilts were presented at a recent program. The family displayed a board with photographs of Arlene, shown above. The quilt project is known as Arlene’s Angels.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. The quilts were made by Killian, Thibodeau and several of their friends across the country. A portion of the quilts were presented at a recent program. The quilt project is known as Arlene’s Angels. Above, Jo-Ann Durdock, recreational therapist at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehab, left, talks with resident Loretta Shimko as she admires the quilts.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. The quilts were made by Killian, Thibodeau and several of their friends across the country. A portion of the quilts were presented at a recent program. The quilt project is known as Arlene’s Angels. Above, Killian presents a quilt to resident Ron Rose.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. The quilts were made by Killian, Thibodeau and several of their friends across the country. A portion of the quilts were presented at a recent program. The quilt project is known as Arlene’s Angels. Above Thibodeau presents a quilt to resident Annette Hernandez.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Colorful quilts with a variety of accessories were presented to residents during a recent ceremony.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Resident Madeline Gale exclaims with joy as she admires a sensory quilt presented to a fellow resident at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. Sisters Shelley Killian and Amy Resident Madeline Gale exclaims with joy as she admires a sensory quilt presented to a fellow resident at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. Sisters Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau and friends made the quilts as part of a project they launched called Arlene’s Angels, named in memory of their mother, Arlene Goodbou.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center resident Mary Roberts expresses her gratitude for her quilt to recreation director Kathleen Horvath.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. The quilts were made by Killian, Thibodeau and several of their friends across the country. A portion of the quilts were presented at a recent program. The quilt project is known as Arlene’s Angels. Above are, from left to right, Thibodeau, Killian and Goodbou's family friend, Loumay Avallone of Brookfield.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. The quilts were made by Killian, Thibodeau and several of their friends across the country. A portion of the quilts were presented at a recent program. The quilt project is known as Arlene’s Angels. Above, from left to right, are Jo-Ann Durdock, Candlewood Valley recreation therapist, Kathleen Horvath, recreation director, Thibodeau, Killian and Loumay Avallone of Brookfield, a friend of the Goodbou family.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. The quilts were made by Killian, Thibodeau and several of their friends across the country. A portion of the quilts were presented at a recent program. The quilt project is known as Arlene’s Angels.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Patricia Clancy graciously accepts a sensory quilt donated by Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau of New Milford.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Spectrum/New Milford residents Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of the late Arlene Goodbou, recently donated nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford. The quilts were made by Killian, Thibodeau and several of their friends across the country. A portion of the quilts were presented at a recent program. The quilt project is known as Arlene’s Angels. Above, resident Patricia Clancy graciously accepts a quilt.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/Isabel Couchevitz, a resident at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford, admires the cat-themed sensory quilt presented to her by Shelley Killian of New Milford, left, and Spectrum/Isabel Couchevitz, a resident at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford, admires the cat-themed sensory quilt presented to her by Shelley Killian of New Milford, left, and Kathleen Horvath, recreation director at the center. Killian and her sister, Amy Thibodeau, made nearly 40 quilts for residents of the center as part of a project they began, Arlene’s Angels, in memory of their mother, Arlene Goodbou.
Photo: Deborah Rose / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Spectrum/Isabel Couchevitz, a resident at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford, admires the cat-themed sensory quilt presented to her. The quilts were made by sisters Shelley Killian Spectrum/Isabel Couchevitz, a resident at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford, admires the cat-themed sensory quilt presented to her. The quilts were made by sisters Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau of New Milford. They gave nearly 40 quilts to residents of the center as part of a project they began, Arlene’s Angels, in memory of their mother, Arlene Goodbou.

Love given is love received.

That sentiment recently abounded at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford when the family of the late Arlene Goodbou presented special gifts to residents.

Shelley Killian and Amy Thibodeau, daughters of Goodbou, bestowed nearly 40 handmade fidget/sensory quilts to residents.

Goodbou resided at the center for two and a half years until she died this past April.

“She had such a giving heart,” Killian said of her mother, who would have turned 84 on the day of the presentation and was honored by staff and residents who sang “Happy Birthday” during the presentation.

The quilts vary in size but are all colorful and contain a variety of textures and objects.

They include ribbons that can be pulled, beads and buttons that can be spun, zippers that can be opened and closed, lace that can be felt, calculator buttons that can be pressed, soft toys that can be pressed to squeak, terrycloth dolls that can be hugged, stretchy bands that can be tugged, Velcro strips that can be pulled back and forth, small photo frames that can be viewed, and more.

All of the accessories are attached to the quilts.

Each is adorned with a small angel, added by Killian and Thibodeau in honor of their mother and the project aptly named Arlene’s Angels.

Resident Madeline Gale was so impressed with the beautiful gifts that even after being given her quilt, she admired every other quilt given to fellow residents and expressed awe.

“I’m so thankful for this,” said resident Doris “Sue” Snodgrass as she received her quilt.

The idea of fidget quilts stemmed from Killian’s visits with her mom, who often twisted her fingers in a crocheted blanket.

Killian said she noticed other residents doing similar things with their hands, such as pulling on a zipper or tugging on a blanket.

Goodbou was given a fidget spinner and she used it, but she would get frustrated when she dropped it and could not easily retrieve it.

Upon Goodbou’s death, Killian conducted research and discovered the concept of fidget/sensory quilts, which have shown to be beneficial for a variety of individuals, including those suffering from a variety of health challenges, such as dementia.

Immediately, she felt called to make quilts and donate them to Candlewood.

The goal was to make 25 quilts. Thirty-eight were presented.

Word about Killian’s project spread to her sister, and then friends across the country who happily offered to make a quilt or two and send them to the sisters.

“Amy I just started sewing and it just took off,” Killian said.

Thibodeau had never sewn before, but once her sister set her up with a sewing machine, she never looked back.

Staff considered fabric pattern, colors and themes, and each resident’s personality and likes when selecting quilts to give each resident.

“These two beautiful woman made a huge difference in the lives of our seniors here,” said recreation director Kathleen Horvath of Killian and Horvath’s generous gifts.

“Each resident’s heartfelt reaction to the gift of the sensory quilts brought tears of joy to my eyes,” Horvath said.

“We become ‘family’ here at Candlewood and are blessed to have shared in a part of Arlene Goodbou’s journey of life,” she said. “And her memory is still touching all of us here at Candlewood Valley.”

“The greatest act of kindness is giving to those in need,” Horvath summed up. “Amy and Shelley have made their mom proud and truly made a difference in the lives of our residents.”

Killian said she and her sister plan to annually present quilts to Candlewood, and would like to present them to others in need.

For information about the project, to make a quilt or to donate supplies for quilts, email shelleykillian@gmail.com or ladyrav42002@yahoo.com.