We believe that a child’s work is play, and our activity coordinators make sure that all of our patients and their siblings are hard at work even while they’re in the hospital.
With services at our main hospital and at our Lincoln Park outpatient location, our activity coordinators make sure children are kept learning in an enriched atmosphere, and they also provide play as a distraction while children wait for medical treatment in common spaces like the Panda Cares Center of Hope and outpatient waiting rooms. Activity coordinators also make sure patients’ siblings are entertained while a child is in treatment or a parent is making an important decision.
Play with a Purpose
Activity coordinators plan a diverse set of educational activities through our integrated curriculum with the help of an army of volunteers every day, and they also organize special events. A few things you might see happening in the Panda Center or patient waiting rooms include:
- Art projects
- Special visits from sports and celebrity guests like Scottie Pippen!
- Volunteer and donor playtime
Keeping our patients playing is essential to their treatment; playtime and activities provide a much needed distraction and continued stimulation so that children continue to grow and develop. Playtime also helps normalize the healthcare experience, making the kids feel like kids again. We also realize that illness affects the whole family, so we make sure our sibling programs take care of their individual needs as well.
Meet an Activity Coordinator
Ann Richards has worked at Lurie Children’s in Family Services since 1997. She began her time at the hospital as a child life specialist, and she was then a ParentWISE coordinator for the organ transplantation program. She currently works as an activity coordinator at our Lincoln Park Outpatient Center where she focuses on providing play and learning experiences for children. She hopes to help children cope with medical settings through play while also encouraging them to become lifelong learners through our integrated curriculum.
Ann has a master’s degree in child development and family relationships with a focus in hospitalized children and certification as a child life specialist.