I have the privilege of being involved with Smile-A-Mile in many different facets. I work alongside the Hospital Outreach Program staff each week, I have volunteered at camp sessions for 3 summers now, and I serve on SAM’s Junior Board of Directors.
HOP has been a wonderful program for the patients at Children’s. The patients look forward to Tuesdays each week, which are now lovingly referred to as “Camp Days”. These activities allow patients to experience a little bit of camp without even walking out the front door of the hospital. It also gives our new families a chance to get to know some of the Smile-A-Mile staff before attending camp.
Volunteering at camp has truly been a blessing to me! It has allowed me to see campers and their families ENJOY life! Not worrying about what is coming next; even if just for a few days. Working in an inpatient setting, a lot of these kids are pretty sick when I’m working with them. But when I see them at camp having fun and doing “normal” kid things, it is such a sweet picture of restoration and gives me the strength to keep going.
Being a member of the Junior Board has helped me see Smile-A-Mile full circle – it’s reminded me of the importance of getting the community involved so that, as a whole, we can give the campers and their families the best experience possible. I’m so thankful for the Smile-A-Mile family that has welcomed me in as one of their own. I’ve heard it said from day 1 and I have learned it to be true… once in the SAM family, always in the SAM family.