C&A Community Outreach Collaboration Results in Interactive Real Life Superhero Theme Website for Pediatric Patients
As part of Take Your Child to Work Day, Kerrie Bellisario’s (Chief Strategist) son Nate Ross asked, “how can kids his age (11) help other children who are sick or injured in hospitals have fun and know they are loved?” Kerrie and Nate interviewed C&A Consultant, Sharon Dills, who spent years as a nurse working pediatrics. She explained about the role of child life specialists and the kinds of activities and formats that would benefit children. Nate then brainstormed with Sharon and his Mom about ideas about games, puzzles and ways kids could have fun. Nate spent the day in the C&A office making a maze, word search, puzzle and built a to do list that was so long and exciting he knew he couldn’t do it alone. Thanks to Mrs. Christine Carey, Nate’s fifth grade school teacher and the Morris School District, Nate’s whole class got involved. Students:
- Wrote superhero theme adventure stories
- Painted watercolor scenes from their stories
- Developed Act-it-Out!, Draw-It!, and What Do You Know: Superhero Edition Interactive games
- Assembled printable puzzles and activities, jokes and riddles
- Recorded a webinar of their stories
How do you take all of this great material and package it so as many pediatric units as possible can experience the benefits? Enter C&A’s Digital Media & Technology Specialist, Daniel Freeman. As Nate’s class describes, Dan used his web magic wizardry and created an interactive web page on C&A’s website. Christine Carey, Nate’s fifth grade teacher commented on the collaboration, “Working with Kerrie was a great experience. The children have so much talent and enthusiasm. They learned that they have the ability to take their talents and make a difference in the lives of children. This is a perfect example of expanding the classroom into the community – where education serves communities in need.”
On Friday, July 7, Kerrie and Daniel from C&A , Mrs. Carey and her school principal Mr. Cisneros and four of the class participants including Nate Ross, Mia Bedoya, Thomas Gleichmann and Marvin Benitez formally presented the Real Life Superheroes Project to Kristin Holtzman, Child life specialist, from the Atlantic Health System Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ and her team. Handing over a kit filled with the children’s laminated games and all of the supplies needed for children to play, Nate shared a letter to the children in the hospital. In it, he said “In each of us there is a light in our heart and sometimes that light goes out when we are bored, so we made these games and activities so you could have fun.”
Atlantic Health System Goryeb Children’s Hospital celebrates a Super Hero Day during the summer and Kristin shared that children will have the opportunity to watch the children’s webinar, read their stories, play games and more than ever be reminded that children in the community are showing their love to them. We are hoping to follow up with Kristin and her team and learn more about how resources like this can support the work of child life specialists and pediatric staff.
We encourage all hospitals to share the Real Life Superheroes Project website materials and resources with your pediatric units. Visit https://www.courtemanche-assocs.com/real-life-super-heroes/
Developed for children by children – we at C&A say a huge thank you to the kindness showed by Nate and his classmates and the incredible support of Mrs. Carey, Mr. Cisneros and the Morris School District.