School clubs help young patients, earn national award

September 18, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

The project to create a happy distraction for young hospital patients was a collaboration between the FCCLA clubs at Issaquah and Skyline high schools. Contributed

When future young patients at Swedish/Issaquah go in for a procedure they’ll have some friendly faces looking back down at them.

Vyvian Luu, now a senior at Issaquah High School, and 2012 Skyline High School graduates Lindsey Brown and Haley Connors led the charge last year to give children a happy distraction while at the hospital. The result is dolphins, fish and seahorses swimming in a near-periwinkle sea, frozen in time, on the ceiling of a procedure room.

“We were blown away at the quality and the talent the students had,” said Natalie Kozimor, who does public relations and business development at Swedish.

She worked closely with the students as they designed and painted the ceiling tiles. “The goal is to create a healing, positive environment for the kids … when we built the new Swedish/Issaquah there wasn’t anything at that point that had kids art work.”

Luu, Brown and Connors did the project as members of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America club at their high schools. The group met monthly with Swedish staff and spent the school year getting the tiles ready to put into place.

While working on that, the high schoolers also made bracelets of braided, colored string to represent different attributes, like love and determination. Those bracelets now hang on a tree at the hospital where children who are going through cancer treatment can slip one off its branch.

“They wanted to do it so that those children would know that someone was thinking about them,” Kozimor said. “It was a pleasure to work with the FCCLA club over the school year.”

Finally finished with the tiles in late spring, the girls presented their service project at the state FCCLA competition. To receive gold, a presentation had to score at least 90 out of 100 points. For their hard work they received a gold rating and were selected, out of 23 other chapters, to represent Washington at the National Leadership Conference, along with Kittitas High School, in their category.

Luu, Brown and Connors and their advisors Alexis Davison and Lesha Engels were among the more than 6,800 FCCLA members, alumni and guests who made the journey to Orlando, Fla., for the July 8-12 gathering. There, the Issaquah and Skyline students were three of 3,600 competitors in the Students Taking Action and Recognition events, which Davison explained are meant to build proficiency and achievement in leadership and job-related skills. When it was all said and done, the three girls were each awarded gold.

The pediatrics procedure room, with its underwater tile scene is located on the second floor of the Cascade Wing at Swedish/Issaquah’s campus and is set to open later this year.

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