Sharing her story: Alumna raises funds to publish children’s book

Chris Engstrom and Orik

Chris Engstrom’s children’s book about tackling personal challenges is facing its own challenge: finding the funds to create it.

Engstrom ‘05, Psychology and Human Development, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund her children’s book titled “Original Orik and His Important Job: A Service Dog Story.” Engstrom, who has cerebral palsy, wishes to use the book to educate others about the role of service dogs and to help others understand the relationship between owner and service animal.

The book, targeted at children aged 5-8, describes a typical day for a service dog.

“This book is unique in that I tell the story through the voice of my service dog, Orik,” Engstrom said. “The book uses humor to teach that everyone has strengths they can use to overcome personal challenges.”

Engstrom is hoping to raise $3,200 from the Kickstarter campaign. The funds raised will be used to hire a professional illustrator and publish the book with a copyright. She plans to have paperback books for sale online and at special events, as well as selling some copies in retail stores. She also hopes to create an audio book and e-book.

In the next year-and-a-half, Engstrom hopes to earn certification to become a school counselor and coach children’s basketball.

“Orik and I love being on the court,” she said. “He loves showing others how calm he can be around the ball, whistles and all that running.”

It was through working with children that Engstrom was exposed to their questions about disability, service dogs and their challenges.

Engstrom’s Kickstarter campaign will run through Nov. 26. Click here for more information, or to donate.

— Story by Katelyn Staaben, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication

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