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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, my name is Krystal, I grew up in a small town in Illinois, where I was always playing outside with my two older sisters and friends. I moved to Phoenix, Arizona to pursue my career in Child Life. I have been in the Child Life profession for a little over 4 years, and have been in my current position at Mayo Clinic Arizona for over 2 years. When I am not working, I enjoy volunteering at a local grief support group, running and hiking with my friends, and watching good movies.
I became a Child Life Specialist after I heard a graduate student talk about all the awesome things a Child Life Specialist can do for hospitalized children. I have always gravitated towards working with children and have found a love for it, as well as helping children in need, which is why I thought becoming a Child Life Specialist was meant to be!
Children’s Wish Foundation has been an amazing organization, as I utilize the Just Because program and Hospital enrichment program. Our patient demographics are oncology kiddos coming for radiation treatments, and the Just Because program allows kids to work towards a fun gift of their liking. The kiddos get so excited and talk about their item often, and it truly puts a smile on the patient’s face and the family who appreciates all the support they can get. Children’s Wish Foundation has really helped my Child Life program, as I am a one person program that came into this position with no resources. With that being said, Children’s Wish Foundation has truly been an asset in my program to offer many wonderful things!
Being a Child Life Specialist means I get to have fun, empower individuals and educate, while I work a 9-5 job! I love being able to work with the oncology population and provide them the tools to be successful with radiation treatments, or coping with getting anesthesia. One of the most unique things about being a Child Life Specialist is the opportunity to learn and grow just as much as our patients and families do. I provide those essential tools to promote normalization, distraction and autonomy in a very stressful environment. Each family presents with a story of their own, and they provide that access for me to learn and understand what they have gone through and experienced, and in turn, they teach me many new tools on ways to implement new things. It truly is a blessing to work and advocate for children and families, and to make a difference no matter how big or small.