Blankets for the Heart was a project to form a partnership with Children's Hospital to help patients at the hospital feel better and have a positive experience during their stay. Valley Children's Hospital is an important part of our community and has had some effect on every member in our group. We have two members which have spent a lot time there fighting cancer and a blood disorder. When discussing what we could do to help our community the first responses were helping the children in the hospital. The goal of our project is put as many smiles on sick patients as we can.
How did 4-H help?
Howard 4-H Community Pride group wanted to make a difference for the patients at Children's Hospital Central California. The group made blankets, activity books, and for the seriously ill patients. The craft kits and activity books allow children that are stuck in their rooms to have something fun to do. The thought behind the fleece blankets is for the seriously ill patient to have something warm and comforting to help them feel better. They also wanted to put on an activity day for the patients that could leave their rooms. The 4-Hers wanted to give the patients a worry-free day of fun to take their mind of their illness.The Hospital Activity Day was a great way for our members to interact with the patients and allow them to have an afternoon of fun. We also had an article published in the local newspaper and we sent the article to the hospital along with the video to be shown there.
On July 2, 2014 our group did an Activity Day where we did six different stations for the patients to be able to participate in. The patients could decorate cookies, make ice cream in a bag, make slime and Borax crystals, paint wooden picture frames and boxes, make pinwheels and do different crafts. Patients were able to come down for two hours and enjoy themselves doing all the activities.
As we were leaving the volunteer service coordinator said "Howard 4-H Rocks, looking forward to working with you again!”
When writing this grant and forming a partnership with Children's Hospital we knew we were doing a positive thing but it wasn't until the Hospital Activity Day was the true impact felt. A total of 80 fleece blankets were made, 450 craft kits and 1,000 activity books. These were for the patients who couldn't leave their room would have activities to do while they were in the hospital. The interaction of our 4-H members with the patients and their families was an amazing site. As hospital official came through and commented on what a great event and how much fun these patients were having even though they had I.V. hooked up to them. We got so much positive feedback from all that attended. Parents were grateful that there kids could have normal experiences for a couple hours. The hospital was so grateful for the blankets and craft kits and would be put to good use. The 4-H members were touched by this experience and could feel the positive energy that the Activity Day had produced. There wasn't one member who didn't want to continue this project. After showing our Revolution for Responsibility video we already have support to do one activity day next year. Our goal is two Activity days and to continue making craft kits and blankets. After hours of work making blankets and preparing for the Activity Day the 4-H members knew they had made a difference in the lives of patients and families at Children's Hospital at the same time as representing 4-H in a positive light.To continue this project we are going to present our project to the local hospital guild and Rotary Club for support.