Our Highlights

Summer Series #6: Technology sparks joy

Technology & Joy

The hospital can be filled with scary unknowns for children, including sounds, smells, feelings, and faces. However, at Flushing Hospital Medical Center there is one face that the children grow to recognize: Rashmi Momaya. Rashmi is the only Child Life Specialist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center and has dedicated her work to helping alleviate the stress that accompanies a hospital visit. In 2008, enCourage Kids Foundation funded the hospital’s first Child Life Program and we have been an important partner in their work ever since. Recently, we funded a VECTA Deluxe Mobile Sensory Station. The VECTA machine is a transportable station that has a CD player, a projector, fiber optic cables for tactile touch, aromatherapy, and an interactive bubble column in which the speed of the bubbles and the color of the column can be controlled by the patient.

The VECTA machine creates a way for Rashmi to use non-pharmaceutical methods that help her patients cope with their anxiety and fear during painful procedures, such as blood draws, IV placements, drain removals, dressing changes, and lumbar punctures. This interactive machine provides hospitalized children and their families with choices, distraction, and a sense of control.
Since Flushing Hospital only has a one-person Child Life program, the VECTA machine is an instrumental tool, allowing Rashmi to constantly move between the Pediatric Floor and Pediatric Emergency Room to help even more children experience a comfortable and more positive hospital visit.

Child Life Spotlight: Teddy Bear Clinics

Child Life Specialists will often use Teddy Bear Clinics as a way to show children exactly what is going on during certain procedures, like an IV needle insertion, taking a child’s blood pressure, or wrapping a bandage or cast over an injury. enCourage Kids’ Teddy recently made it big time on the local news in Rockton, IL for his help during a Teddy Bear Clinic at Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital. This clinic was put on during their Children Health and Safety Event, preparing children and families on how to stay safe over the summer.

National Nonprofit Day

Saturday, August 17th is National Nonprofit Day! To celebrate we asked some members of our enCourage Kids community to reflect on their passion for our mission and why they love EKF. Click on each of the names below to see what they have to say.

“From the amazing, wonderful staff to the volunteers, to the children and their families, of course. It fills my heart with pure and utter joy and happiness. Helping one another and our community is what makes the world go round, isn’t it? And the EKF does an amazing, absolutely amazing, job of making each and every child and their family feel special…as they are. It is my pleasure and my honor to be a volunteer with the enCourage Kids Foundation. I enjoy the look on the faces of the children and families. It is priceless and is one of the most meaningful and rewarding experiences in my life.

Every moment is a treasure and a favorite, but camping at Camp Pontiac. Seeing the families’ faces and witnessing them enjoying every moment, I can’t stop smiling and it means so much to me to be even a little part of helping make that happen. I appreciate every moment of this opportunity and every moment with the families as Life is a gift. I cherish it and take pride in being a volunteer with EKF.”

From the moment I experienced the kids of enCourage Kids I was “hooked”!  Seeing our kids and their families at Camp Pontiac and the many other events over the past 30 years has only served to strengthen my commitment to them and the goals of enCourage Kids.  EKF has a special place as we humanize healthcare for children and their families.
It is a privilege to be a part of such a meaningful organization with the best staff in the non-profit world as well as our special relationship with the Child Life community.

“enCourage Kids is amazing! The organization does everything they can to provide fun, laughter and support while children are in the hospital.  The staff is a pleasure to work with and you can tell they love what they do.”

“One of the greatest joys in my life is being a part of the EKF team, once as an intern and now as a volunteer. Over the past 10 years I have been able to develop lasting bonds with staff and volunteers over our true belief in the services EKF provides and our shared love of the EKF families. One of my favorite memories is the annual summer trip to Camp Pontiac. From making smores at the big bonfire or a pick up basketball game, it truly is a weekend where everyone can get away from some of the scary realities of life with a child with a serious illness and just be kids!”

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