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St. Luke's Children's Hospital School Receives $50,000 Grant from Walmart

"Walmart presented representatives from St. Luke's Children's Hospital with a $50,000 grant that will go toward the Children's Hospital School."
By Ken Dey, News and Community
March 2, 2011

BOISE, Idaho – St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital will launch new programs and purchase new supplies and equipment thanks to a $50,000 grant from Walmart.

Walmart officials presented the grant on Wednesday March 2,  prior to the beginning of a Marti Gras celebration at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. To see photos of the event click here.

The donation comes from Walmart’s State Giving Grant program. The grant is directed at the Children’s Hospital School. The school, the only one of its kind in the state, has a full-time teacher that provides instruction for patients being treated at St. Luke’s.

The goal of the school is to minimize the educational, social, and mental effect severe and chronic illnesses have on children at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.  The school serves an average of 150 children throughout the year for varying reasons depending on the stage of their illness. The grant will go toward the following items:

  • $20,000 to the School Re-Entry Program. St. Luke’s Hospital School goes beyond helping keep children at grade level. The school also helps minimize the challenges of re-entry when a student transitions from the hospital to home to school. After hospitalization, going back to regular school can be intimidating for many, especially if they have been absent for a long time.  A child’s re-entry back to his/her classroom requires adjustments – on the part of the student, classmates, teachers, and others.
  • $10,000 Kids On The Block Puppet Program. Kids on the Block is a series of puppet shows in the areas of learning disabilities and medical conditions like leukemia, diabetes, traumatic brain injuries and asthma. Each program is thoroughly researched and field tested. All performances are uniquely successful communication program that teach children to appreciate disabilities and differences in others and themselves. The puppet shows are presented to classes so teachers and students can understand the illness or condition and have the opportunity to ask questions and dispel myths that often surround childhood illness. They will know what to expect when classmates return and the transition for the returning student is much smoother.
  • $15,000 for Education Materials – books, supplies, equipment. Classroom supplies, books, library books are replenished regularly to minimize any opportunity of compromising fragile immune systems.  It is not like a regular classroom where books are re-shelved, and pencils re-used. Every paper, pencil, library book taken to a patient’s room remains in the room and cannot be re-used in the Hospital School.
  • $5,000 for school newspaper publication. This will go toward the purchase of a camera and software that will help the kids produce their own Children’s Hospital newspaper - “MaxWell’s Message”. The newspaper is distributed throughout St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital departments, as well as to family members and classmates of student patients.

History of St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital School

St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital opened in 2004 as a way to minimize the effect long term illnesses have on a child’s education. By bringing a comprehensive school program to a child, it’s easier to remain at grade level while improving health outcomes.  In its first 5 years 100 percent of 750 children who have attended the school, have remained at grade level.

Public schools in Idaho are required to provide “homebound” services to students who meet criteria, however, state laws haven’t kept current with medical advances & the needs of chronically ill children.  Attending school while in the hospital gives children & adolescents a sense of “normalcy”.  Anxiety is decreased as children have support & structure to accomplish academic goals.

Key elements of a hospital school are flexibility, creativity, & cooperation.  The school, students, & families set realistic goals. Diagnosis, treatment, & length of participation in the hospital school are considered when developing individual assignments.  Medications & treatments have an impact & are considered when working with each child.

The teacher tailors programs to meet the needs depending on type of illness, treatment impacts on cognition, length of treatment and goals of each student. Child Life Specialists work to minimize psychological stress and pain related to hospitalization, & promote optimum development of children by helping maintain normal living routines.

The teacher continues to work with families well beyond their stay at the hospital by assisting in navigating school district requirements as they re-enter into the school setting. The Teen Room opened April 2010 and offers a special get-away, a place to meet friends and family.

The Teen Room was a dream of a young patient who spent months of his life in St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital fighting cancer and allows young patients to connect with friends & enjoy fun & games in a new, friendly environment outside their hospital room - the social piece of an adolescent’s daily routine.

About The Author

Ken Dey served as Public Relations Coordinator at St. Luke's from 2008-2014.

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St. Luke's Children's Hospital
190 E. Bannock St.
Boise, ID 83712
(208) 381-2804