Memphis 2 - Health (1)

11 strangers picked to live in a church….
 HI EVERYONE! Nice to meet ya'll. We are Memphis 2, and we are so excited to tell you about our time serving! So, 11 of us took off on Saturday afternoon to head down South to serve at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital for the week and we are staying nearby at a church in Germantown (not Pennsylvania), TN. Yesterday was our first day at the hospital, and we had a morning full of training and then that afternoon we started our first shifts! Timorie and Allison are our volunteer coordinators and are so sweet and welcoming to us. We are their 3rd week in a row of "alternative breakers," so they know exactly how this works and have been very organized.
 Today, we came in bright and early with a better idea of the hospital, the elevator system (though not completely lulz), and now starting to recognize some smiling faces. We broke off into different areas of the hospital, each of us taking on a different unit or task.
Sam E, Kelly C, and Francine, started off the morning walking around with the beverage cart with a long-time volunteer Gordon. He is an amazing man and we were lucky to be his apprentice for the day. We came around the halls bringing free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to anyone who needed a pick-me-up. The families, nurses, and doctors were so appreciative of this gesture, which seemed so small, but had an awesome impact. We also learned about the "Le Bonheur" special, which is a packet of hot chocolate, but instead of water, you add coffee. There is a reason it is called a special…… it's delicious.
            A couple floors up, Erin and Shane spent some time in a little tike's room coloring, playing, and even learning sign language! They did so well interacting with this family and now have a cool skill they are coming home with! (Whenever you see them on the street, make sure to ask them the sign for red). This little one was super funny and sassy and brought joy to everyone who had the chance to meet them. Which was cool because 5 other volunteers met with this kiddo too during other activities! Let me tell you, this kid was popular.
            Now, let me introduce you to Francine. She's a quirky child-life specialist major who is also skilled in the art of opera! How do those things relate? Well we found out today when Francine had the chance to sing to not one….but TWO kiddos today. BOTH TIMES FROZEN! (of course). These little ones lit up when she started singing and it was awesome to get to see Francine shine. Everyone agrees that the Child-life specialists who work at Le Bonheur are not normal people but super-human, kid-loving aliens who are basically the rock-stars of the hospital. Francine fits in perfectly.
            Kelly M. and Ellen took some rounds today with the hospitality cart. This cart is so cool! It's a cart full of supplies like deodorant, shampoo, and toothbrushes and the families can take anything they want for free.  So many of the parents and kids were surprised and genuinely touched by Le Bonheur's generosity.  They took rounds through the surgery waiting room and provided a distraction from the waiting game they were currently experiencing. It was awesome to see them take their minds of the stress and start talking about the smells of lotions and different types of shampoos. We all talked later about how something like this could be so overlooked when there are crazy things going on like having a sick child. These little comfort items can mean a lot to families in a time where there might not be a lot of comfort.
            Olivia and Sam C. spent the morning with activity cart, which brings around games, toys, and crafts to kids directly in their room. Olivia talked about how cool it was to see the different kids be creative with their crafts and how unique each child is, even with crafts that have specific directions. After that, they spent some time in the creative arts room, which is open specific times of the day. In here, they got to color, paint, decorate, and play with lots of kids and their families too! They walked into a little guy's room that was playing on an iPad and asked him if he wanted to do an activity (fully expecting a rejecting because of the awesome iPad), and he responded, "YES, I have been SO bored."
            Holly and Nicole spent some time in kid's rooms providing time for families to go off and do their own thing. Many parents don't ever want to leave the kid's bedside or leave them alone. Sometimes this means that mom and dad haven't showered in a few days, or maybe they just haven't seen the sunlight in a while. Unit buddies allow these parents the opportunity to take care of themselves for a little while the buddy makes sure the kiddo isn't alone and has cool stuff to do. Holly and Nichole even had a chance to meet up with a toddler they met the previous day, and saw in that room the pet therapy dog, Jake, doing hard work (aka getting his belly rubbed).
            The afternoon brought our whole group together to make cookies at the FedEx family house, which provides free housing for the families of kids staying at the hospital. This building was beautiful and very impressive, and we were lucky we had the chance to see it! We met lots of families and kiddos there, and of course, we sang more frozen songs. Baking cookies with those families was a very memorable experience, and brought out the kids in us all.
            We don't know if it's the South, or the children's hospital environment, or the church community where we are staying, but everyone has been so kind to us here. Everywhere we go, there are people telling us genuine thank yous and telling us how special we are. They are making us feel so appreciated and loved and we are grateful for this opportunity to serve. Now off to another day! Ya'll come back now. 

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