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For the month of March, Children’s Wish Foundation is celebrating every Child Life Specialist that has made a difference in the lives of children and families around the world. On behalf of Wish kids everywhere, we want to thank each and every Child Life Specialist for all that they’ve done to help children face their illness head on. In the event of Child Life month, what better way to celebrate their hard work and dedication than to feature a few of the Child Life Specialists that we work with on a daily basis. Reading their stories has brought tears to our faces and joy to our hearts. Enjoy!
Hi everyone! I did my undergraduate studies at UC Davis, getting two bachelors degrees, one in psychology and one in human development. I went on to graduate school at California State University Sacramento, obtaining my master’s in counseling psychology. I did my child life internship at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. I began my child life career at Shriners Hospitals for Children, Northern California, (8 years) but have worked the last 11 years at Kaiser Permanente Roseville in Pediatric Specialties. While I specialize in the hem/onc and infusion patients, I also cross cover into every specialty. That keeps things very busy and interesting. I love the variety of patients we see and the interventions I’m able to provide. I am on the board of directions for the California Association of Child Life Professionals (CACLP), and am an active member of our pediatric palliative care team as well. Personally, I’ve been married for 10 years to a wonderful man, who is a paramedic/firefighter at our local fire department. We have two wonderful children, boys, ages 6 and 8. We are very busy keeping up with our kiddos and their sports and activities. We love to travel together as a family and treasure our “family days.”
I always knew I wanted to work with children, and I was also fascinated with the medical field. Child Life seemed to be a perfect combination of those two. I heard about the Child Life field and volunteered at a local children’s hospital. I quickly became fascinated by what the child life specialists were doing, and how helpful their services were to the patients. The more I learned about the field, the more determined I became to become certified.
I love the various programs that are offered by Children’s Wish to children enduring medical challenges. I think it’s particularly wonderful how the guidelines are not as rigid as other organizations, giving medical staff more flexibility and leeway in who they can refer. The Young Minds program is fabulous for the little ones and recognizes their medical journeys. We’ve had a great successes with the Just Because program as well. Those gifts seems to always come at just the right time to give kids the “pick me up” that they need. Our child life program operates without a budget, so receiving the monthly donations has truly been a blessing. This really keeps our program going!
I love the feeling of knowing that I was able to help a child and family cope with a stressful medical event. It’s so satisfying to be an integral part of the child’s healthcare team and know that my interventions make a positive impact on their care and their healing. Watching a child learn to understand their diagnosis and treatment and how to cope with that is so inspiring. Children are so resilient and open to our services and thrive when they receive them. The connections we make with patients and families are so special; I definitely keep these kiddos close to my heart.
Thank you for reading!