MLK Day is ‘dream day’ at Akron Children’s (Photo Gallery)

Lillian Albright, age 3, and Serenity Smolen, age 5, and her mom Jane Davis create squares during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day “I Have a Dream” quilt making session in the Akron Children’s Hospital Emily Cooper Welty Expressive Therapy Center.

Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for equality and passionately led the American civil rights movement in the mid-1950s. Today our patients, staff and volunteers shared their dreams of life without cancer, wide-spread love and peace and a few personal requests: for pets and a boat!

For the second year, a quilt making project in our Emily Cooper Welty Expressive Therapy Center gave participants of all ages a chance to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and also communicate their dreams on squares of fabric using paint, markers, sequins, appliqué and more.

Five-year-old Serenity Smolen stopped by with her mom Jane Davis. Together they have a dream to write a book. And Serenity dreams of having two horses.

Mary Albright brought her daughter Lillian, age 3, to also make squares. Lillian was too shy to verbally express her dream, but painted a colorful work of art for the quilt. (We hear she’s a dancer, but that’s for a different expressive therapy session!)

Cheryl Hatcher of North Canton volunteers each week in the Therapy Center and helped coordinate Thursday’s group session. She’s a former child-life specialist at Akron Children’s and has a dream that no children suffer.

Children too sick to come to the group session also had a chance to create a quilt square in their hospital room.

Other dreams shared include:

  • Debbie (staff): peace and love win.
  • Molly (therapist): to one day own a sail boat.
  • Meg (volunteer): that love solves all.
  • Mary Ann (staff): the mind will one day heal.
  • Mary (patient’s mom): I continue being a good mom to my three kids.
  • Jane (patient’s mom): I will write a book
  • Anonymous dreams: that kindness prevails; life will be free of cancer; we will reach out to each other with love; we will love each other.

The Emily Cooper Welty Expressive Therapy Center at Akron Children’s Hospital is a 3,000 square-foot, colorful, sky-lit space where children, their families and others can use the creative arts to deal with illness, cope with emotions and find comfort. It is staffed by art and music therapists trained to address psychosocial and physiological concerns.

Named for Emily Cooper Welty, in honor of her $1.2 million donation, the expressive therapy center has received support from various organizations, including Panera Bread, Northern Ohio Golf Charities, the Akron Children’s Hospital Women’s Board, the Paul and Carol David Foundation, the Helen Brach Foundation, the Howard Atwood family, Eileen Burg, and Dr. Ron and Maureen Russ, among others.

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