Family and Friends Public Health

Local students collect stuffed animals for kids in the hospital

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Sisters, Daniela and Eliana Mendez, students at Old Kings Elementary, wanted to do something to help other children in our community. While holding their favorite stuffed animal at home, they realized how cuddling a stuffed animal could make them feel better and a light bulb went off! Wouldn’t giving stuffed animals to kids in the hospital help them relax, provide comfort, and make them less scared?

After bringing the idea to their school club, Kiwanis Kids, everyone jumped on board and promoted it throughout their school. Donations quickly started flowing in and the girls were ecstatic. They soon reached out to the AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida Office and learned that there was a need for their donation. Three of our ED nurses, Rita Bennett, Rosa Coffey, and Kailin O’Hara, met with the girls at Old Kings one morning to pick up the stuffed animal donations.

Before leaving, the generous students asked the nurses if there was anything else they could do to help. The nurses shared that there was a need for small packs of crayons and coloring books as well. With promises from the girls to gather more donations before the end of the school year, everyone went about their day with a smile on their faces.

Girl and mother in ER

Of course, not long after, the girls had gathered dozens of coloring books and countless crayons to donate for children in our Emergency Department and at the Freytag Children’s Rehab Center. When asked why they thought these would be helpful to other kids, they said:

“Coloring will help relax them when they are waiting to see the doctor or nurse.”

“This should help take their mind off of getting a shot!”

“I think it will help the parents keep their child occupied while they are waiting to be seen!”

Most of these young ladies will be moving on to 7th grade at different schools next year, but we encouraged them to continue their generosity and volunteer efforts at their new schools.

We at AdventHealth are proud to have such generous students as community members and continue to be thankful for their generosity. To give back programs and services at AdventHealth Daytona, you can make a donation here.

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