WICHITA - It’s hard for children – and especially teenagers – to keep up with their schooling during long hospital stays. But the new USA Funds Education Resource Room, in the Grant and Norma Davis ChildLife Center at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, is equipped to help hospitalized teens do that and more.
Thanks to a $21,000 grant from USA Funds, secured with the help of Via Christi Foundation and ChildLife Center staff, the room now has four laptop computers loaded with educational resource software, accessories for online learning including access to Skype internet telephone and video calling service, a DVD player, printer and comfortable furniture. The grant also covered remodeling and construction costs.
“We try to give our kids as much of a normal routine as we can while they’re in the hospital, and that includes a place to do schoolwork when they feel well enough to do so,” said Angie Long, one of two child life specialists in the ChildLife Center, a pediatric care unit for toddlers through teens. “Intellectual development, like that available to them through this room, is an important part of their total hospital care – and provides a diversion so they can focus on something other than their medical condition.”
The unit’s child life specialists will be able to work with the teen patient’s teachers to schedule daily or weekly times for things like tutoring or peer study sessions, test taking and interactive learning games.
The project grew from USA Funds’ initial grant for an “educart” for the unit — a cart with a laptop computer and printer that could be rolled into a teen patient’s room, allowing schoolwork to be done at the bedside. Based on the growing need for the educart on the unit, the ChildLife Center and Foundation decided to request another grant from USA Funds, to create an entire educational resource room just for teens. That grant was awarded earlier this year and renovation to the room was completed this fall.