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Volunteers: Make a Difference

Rosemary Connolly volunteers

Child Life is “like oxygen” for the youngsters where Rosemary Connolly volunteers every Wednesday. “The happiness factor on the unit is palpable when the Child Life specialist is around,” she says. “Play and attention are two of the greatest balms for these children.”

 A volunteer on the Infant and Toddler Unit since 2013, Connolly describes Child Life’s focus on the developmental and emotional wellbeing of patients, as “a wonderful ancillary way to help heal body and mind that brings to mind the power of integrated medicine.” Child Life briefs her on the patients who need a visit or a change of scenery. The children appreciate visitors, Connolly adds, especially when their parents are away or working. Staff are “just wonderful with the children, and care for them as though they were their own,” she continues.

Noting a number of recalcitrant eaters on the unit, Connolly drew on experience in feeding her own children, and wrote letters to a manufacture requesting little airplane shaped spoons that make eating more fun. The spoons arrived a few weeks later.

“Now, THAT,” she says, “was a lesson in what anyone can do to make a difference, even a little one, in the life of a child here.”

Interested in becoming a volunteer at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center? Contact Johns Hopkins Volunteer Services or call 410-955-5924.

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