If you work or volunteer in a children’s hospital long enough, you know that teens don’t respond to toys and stuffed animals with the same enthusiasm as younger children.
This observation prompted Akron Children’s volunteer Lyndsay Cole, an 11th grader at Fairless High School, to create a cart full of items that appeal to teens. A schedule will be made to have a team of volunteers wheel the cart room to room on the adolescent inpatient floor.
Lyndsay worked with volunteer training specialist Helen Aberegg, child life specialist Julie Walters, and her mom, Rachel, to not only stock the cart, but develop a strategy to keep it sustainable with new donations.
On its debut day, the teen cart was stocked with items like adult coloring books, journals, puzzle books, colored pencils, lotions, hair brushes, toothbrushes, slippers, headbands, lip balm, card games, earbuds, OSU hats, and stress balls.
“This is really needed,” Julie said. “When you think of donating items for patients at a children’s hospital, most people naturally think of young children. Teens can be forgotten. So this is great.”
This is pretty much what Lyndsay found during her volunteer shifts.
“Yeah, 16 year olds just don’t want tiaras and wands like the younger kids,” she said.
Items for the cart were donated by family, sports teams at her school, and friends and strangers responding to her social media posts.
The cart will continue to be stocked with items like lip gloss and lotion, thanks to a grant from the Arbonne Charitable Foundation, based in Irvine, Calif.
Ashley is taking college-level classes while still in high school, and plans to attend Kent State University. She would like to become a neonatal nurse practitioner.