Decatur High School, GA

Students spend summer volunteering at Children’s Heathcare of Atlanta

September 24, 2017

While many students spent their summer vacationing, senior Grace Chapel had a very different experience. Every Wednesday for seven weeks, she volunteered at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Chapel was in charge of the Art Cart. She and a partner took a cart full of art supplies to patients and made crafts with them.

“We were kind of one of the only things there that made them forget they were sick for a second,” Chapel said, “so it was cool to let them live their life and have that opportunity.”

Weisbecker volunteered at Children’s at Egleston, which is located on the Emory University campus. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Chapel volunteered at Children’s because she loves working with kids and is interested in pediatrics.

Senior Hannah Weisbecker also volunteered at Children’s on Fridays for six straight weeks. Weisbecker’s five-hour shift consisted of organizing, interacting with patients and playing games with the patients.

In one instance when she played the card game Egyptian Rat Slap with a Nigerian patient, Weisbecker and the patient suddenly realized they were playing different versions of the game.

“We both thought we were winning,” she said. “It was funny, but she explained it to me and I learned a new game.”

Chapel’s funniest memory occurred was when she and other volunteers gathered a group of kids to make silly putty. They didn’t have measuring cups, so they tried using styrofoam cups instead.

“We spent two or three hours just sitting there laughing because we couldn’t figure out how to get the silly putty to form,” Chapel said.

According to Chapel, it was a bonding moment for everybody.

Weisbecker did her fair share of bonding, too. Through her time volunteering, she became more comfortable talking to strangers.

Chapel (left) and Weisbecker (right) are both seniors. Weisbecker would like to volunteer at Children’s again but feels she will be too busy the summer after graduating. Photo courtesy of Grace Chapel.

She also learned what it’s like to be a doctor, which she aspires to be. One important moment for Weisbecker was when a physician came and spoke about balancing her family life with her career.

“I want to be able to balance both those things and it doesn’t always seem that manageable at times,” Weisbecker said, “but she was able to do it and she talked about how you can do it, it’s just a lot of work.”

Weisbecker’s experience volunteering in a hospital led her to imagine she could work in one some day.

Chapel isn’t sure if she’ll pursue medicine like Weisbecker. However, she did gain a new perspective on children’s hospitals after the experience. According to her, most of the patients were super happy and positive, more so than she expected.

“Anything can make anyone’s day,” Chapel said, “so just by coloring with a kid for half an hour, that can brighten their day so much.”

Both students came out of the experience with more wisdom than they could’ve hoped for.

 

Contact the writer, Nayeli Shad, at 20nayelishad@csdecatur.net.

 

 

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