Kids get bored. Parents know it, older siblings know it and pretty much everyone who has ever met a child knows it. It’s not their fault, but it does make for challenging moments for parents who go to a hospital, for themselves or for family members.
Lynne Garcia is a volunteer at Rapid City Hospital who helps with wayfinding, and she’s seen what happens when kids get bored, “There are children that are there for hours and they don’t have anything to do,” she said. It’s hard for many adults to sit and wait patiently, let alone children, especially when they don’t have anything to occupy them. “I told Alexia that I wish that I had some coloring books or something like that to entertain these little people.”
The Alexia she referred to is Alexia Gillen, D.O., Ambulatory Medical Information Officer. She’s also Lynne’s daughter, and understood exactly what she was talking about. “There are kids waiting for their loved ones who are sick, and they need something to keep busy,” she said. “And I knew the perfect group who can help with that.”
Dr. Gillen took her mother’s idea and brought it to her daughter, Evyenia Gillen, who is the secretary of the Rapid City Youth City Council and the co-lead for the health and wellness committee. She said, “I took it to the Youth City Council in October, and they thought it was a really good idea for a project.” She filed an expenditure request with the council, ordered materials online and then worked with the council to assemble activity bags to help keep kids entertained. “It was a lot of fun,” she said, “There are a lot of kid-friendly options in the bags, like Play-Doh and coloring books.”
Evyenia said that there were 12 to 14 individuals involved with the planning and organization, and eight who helped put the bags together. “I think this is a perfect example of a volunteer identifying a challenge, working with someone who is part of Monument Health and getting the future leaders of the community involved in taking care of people,” said Dr. Gillen.
“I think kids are really going to like them,” Evyenia said. Her grandmother Lynne added, “They will, and their parents will appreciate them too.”