A Memoir of a Mother’s Determination and Her Micro Preemie’s Struggle to Beat the Odds
Spring is the time for new beginnings and inspiration and I am writing today to share with you how one of my students has inspired me.
“When a child is born prematurely or critically ill, constant hospitalization is undeniably stressful for parents. One way in which to cope with this immense stress is to discuss hopes and fears with others in the same situation. What better way to come together with other parents and unwind- than by creating scrapbooks of your babies’ hospital journeys?”
These are the words of an extraordinary student of mine at Mahopac High School. Her name is Lauren Steinitz.
Lauren was first assigned to me as a WISE student. WISE is an individualized intern and academic program for seniors where the student participates in a semester internship. The program is designed to prepare seniors for authentic work experiences by placing them in an intern position that offers significant career building, responsibility and commitment. Lauren exhibited those qualities before she began. She plans to be a neurologist. I then got to work closely with Lauren as she planned and executed her Girl Scout Gold Award project- entitled “Brighter Days for Hospital Stays”.
As part of her project, Lauren raised upwards of $1000 for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, NY. Her money goes towards the scrapbooking program in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The scrapbooking program is designed to allow parents of critically ill and premature babies an outlet to vent and talk with other parents who also expect their babies to spend months in the hospital- all while creating a beautiful scrapbook, marking milestones and special moments along the way. The scrapbooking program is run by The Child Life & Creative Arts Therapy Team at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and they are amazing!
So far, Lauren has been able to purchase a smart phone printer, photo paper, scrapbooks, stickers and a cart to hold it all! This project is very special to me, because as most of you know, my daughter spent four months in the NICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in 2012 after her extremely premature birth. I have a beautiful scrapbook from Joy’s time in the NICU and we cherish those photos and memories each time we open it.
Below are some photos of Joy’s scrapbook from the NICU. I really enjoyed taking it out tonight to take these pictures, although I have to admit it was also difficult.
Lauren has created a website so that she can continue raising money for the scrapbooking program at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital while she attends college and she has plans on expanding her program to other hospitals with neonatal intensive care units.
Please check it out at: http://brighterdaysforhospitalstays.weebly.com/.
Lauren has proved to be a great role model for high school students, by showing them how dedicated she is to improving the world we all share.
She has also inspired me to start my own hospital programs (more on this in another post), with the intention of making each parent experience the best NICU stay possible- because even one night in the NICU is one too many!
You can donate to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital through TEAM FROM HOPE TO JOY or walk with us at the “Go the Distance” Walk and Family Fun Day on May 3rd by clicking here:
Have a great weekend and Happy Easter or Happy Passover!