It was another Sunday soccer game for 15-year-old goalie Glen Martin. He was ready to do anything to protect his team’s goal. While trying to block a shot, the opposing team’s player accidentally kneed him in the stomach.
When Glen was hit, his organs were pushed against his spine, lacerating his liver, puncturing his small intestine and severing his pancreas. He was flown to Children’s that night and operated on the next day. Glen spent the next 70 days recovering in the hospital.
Knowing first-hand that having activities to do during your hospital stay is important, Glen joined Children’s Teen Advisory Committee (TAC) after his long inpatient stay. Patient boredom can be avoided by planning activities where you interact with other patients. The TAC meets once a month and organizes activities that will enhance the hospital environment for other teen patients. That way, instead of only being able to think about getting out of the hospital, patients actually have something to look forward to during their hospital stay.
TAC has two carts filled with “teen only” activities that they bring to the bedside of hospitalized teens. They also host three parties each year for teen patients and their families, educates patients on how to make educated decisions about their own health care and hosts an annual education fair.
Jessica Strzelecki, a Child Life Specialist and TAC facilitator, remembers Glen talking about wanting to give back to the hospital during his stay. “I thought TAC would be a great place for Glen to share his ideas from his own experience and to help with the many projects that were underway within the committee,” she said.
This spring Glen also helped raise $2,500 for Children’s through Miles for Miracles, where patients sponsor runners in the Boston Marathon. All the money raised is then donated to Children’s.
You can read more about Glen’s patient experience here.
While volunteering is not a new idea, it may be to some of your children. Research has shown that “volunteering plays a valuable role in shaping how youth learn to interact with their community and develop the skills, values, and sense of empowerment necessary to become active citizens.”