When Rhonda Johns first became Assistant Campus Director of Education in Canton, MI, one of her immediate goals was to find a new community service project for campus staff and students. From the beginning, Rhonda knew that she wanted to have a child-focused service project since so many staff members and students are parents themselves.
“I decided to contact the Volunteer Service Department at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, who gave me a list of donation items they needed most,” said Rhonda. “They have an ongoing need for crayons, Play-Doh, and activity items for the children receiving extended treatment.”
This was the inspiration Rhonda needed for her community service project. She decided the campus would put together activity packs for hospitalized children. The first thing she needed to figure out was how to collect items for the activity packs.
To fund the purchase of items for the activity packs, Rhonda decided to have a recycling drive since the campus already recycles. “We always have staff and students drinking from returnable cans and bottles. We already have a bin in the student break room to collect the items for recycling, so it made perfect sense. I just started to collect and asked the students to bring any extras that may be at home or hanging out in their cars.”
The students responded in a big way. They started bringing in bags of returnable cans and bottles from home, and many students cleaned out their cars looking for more they could donate. Others purchased the items needed for the activity packs while they were shopping for themselves and brought them in for Rhonda to add to her collection.
“I would cash in the recycling weekly and began to purchase supplies,” said Rhonda. “I actually had a lady in line at one of the dollar stores pay for a stack of coloring books when she heard me tell the cashier why I was purchasing so many at a time. ‘Oh wow! What a really sweet thing you and the students are doing for children. Let me buy those to help out! I love helping children!’ she said.”
After everything was collected, the Medical Assistant classes started filling Ziploc bags with a mixture of the items. The students ended up putting together more than 100 activity bags.
The activity packs can be used throughout the hospital, including in the ER, in testing areas, and in the siblings playroom. Rhonda noted that these activity packs will be “a little something to help a kid to remember they are still a kid during some stressful times.”
Campus Director Doreen Kellum added, “This event was one of the best for us! Rhonda did an amazing job of not only figuring out the need, but also fully executing the plan. I truly appreciate her going above and beyond for our campus. She embodies the true spirit of Social Responsibility, one of the Ross Core Values.”
If you would like to support the patients of Children’s Hospital of Michigan, you can contact the Volunteer Services Department at (313)745-5326, or you can find more information at https://www.childrensdmc.org/for-family-visitors/get-involved/volunteer-services.