Phi Alpha Delta: Trick-or-Treat at A.I. Children’s Hospital

Posted by on Oct 14th, 2010 and filed under SBA News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

On Tuesday, October 12th, members of the George Read Chapter went to A.I. Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, DE.

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One of the important cornerstones of Phi Alpha Delta, and indeed of being a member of the legal profession, is giving back to the community. Many people will volunteer at homeless shelters, hold food drives, or work pro-bono for low income clients. We decided to reach out to one of the most vulnerable groups of people in our society – children suffering from illness.

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A.I. Children’s Hospital, one of the largest children’s hospitals in the Greater-Philadelphia region, allowed a few members of the George Read chapter to come and visit with their patients during the evening-hours playtime. For something fun for us and the kids to do, Pete Tsoflias, the chapter’s Community Service Chairperson, created several Trick-or-Treat themed packages for each of the kids. The hospital advised us that many of their patients are on restrictive diets, and therefore we should avoid bringing candy. Pete found awesome painting kits featuring Winnie the Pooh and Cinderella for the kids to play with, along with other Halloween goodies – glow sticks, scary stickers, crazy bands, etc.

Moreover, due to the unique nature of their patients, the hospital also asked us to be mindful of a few other things. First, we could not take any pictures of the kids. Second, once the child enters the play room at the hospital, he or she gets to decide what they want to do. The hospital’s reasoning behind this is to be able to give a child some control over his/her life, despite being surrounded by doctors, nurses, machines, etc.

Once we got to the hospital, and settle into the playroom, a few kids began to trickle in.

AJ ZorroImmediately, as soon as they saw a Pirate, Zorro, and a Black Cat, their faces lit up with huge smiles.  Rachel met a little girl named Stephanie who had just gotten her tonsils out. The two of them painted pictures of Cinderella and other princesses. Another patient, Brianna, wheeled herself into the room, and immediately threw down a Wii Mario Kart challenge to everyone. Caitlin and Natalie took up the challenge and were soundly defeated. Finally, it took Pete to eek out a victory so the George Read chapter wouldn’t go 0-3 (some debate exists as to whether or not Brianna took pity on us and let Pete win). As other patients began to arrive, the activities we go to do with them grew as well. In fact, Andrew got to play pool with two boys, Jason and Mike, but more importantly, the three of them got to talk about their favorite movie, Star Wars, to their heart’s content.

But the real hero of the night was none other than Zorro himself. A little girl with a lopsided pony tail latched onto AJ almost immediately, and never left his side the entire night. The two of them must have played with every toy in the activity center. I think at one point, I saw the two of them playing a game of pool, foosball, and air hockey… all at the same time! We were told by the hospital that we should refrain from asking the kids why they are in the hospital. But, I think it is a safe assumption that no matter why she is there, the several hours she got to have playing with AJ allowed her to be a normal kid, and just have fun without the worries of another blood test, operation, or sleepless night.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening for all of us. We wrapped up a little before 8pm in order to get the kids ready for bedtime. The hospital staff, as well as the parents who were there, thanked us profusely for helping. But, I don’t know who had a more enjoyable time – the patients who got a chance to just be a kid again, or the law students who got the same chance to just be a kid again. Giving back to the community we serve as legal professionals is an important ideal to live up to, and one that the George Read Chapter takes very seriously. However, sometimes, there’s no reason why you can’t have fun while doing it!

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