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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA lets the sunshine in

    UA lets the sunshine in

    With hand-made bugs and pottery painting, volunteers for Project Sunshine kept patients busy Saturday afternoon at the University Medical Center.

    Students involved in the organization Project Sunshine gathered with children ages 3 to 15 in the Child Life Playroom of UMC, where they decorated flower pots and made caterpillars as part of their craft party to welcome the spring season.

    Project Sunshine is a nonprofit organization where volunteers visit hospitalized children to provide arts and crafts, tutoring, reading, nutritional cooking and special events, to help families and children cope with stresses of medical difficulties. Project Sunshine has grown into a global network of volunteers, after being founded by a college student 10 years ago, according to Project Sunshine, Inc.

    The project serves about 60,000 children each year, with 10,000 volunteers stretching over 75 cities across the United States, Canada, China, Israel, Kenya and Puerto Rico. The only chapter of Project Sunshine in Arizona is located at the UA, where the majority of its volunteers are college students.

    Craft parties at the UMC are not the only programs Project Sunshine is involved in. This semester, Project Sunshine volunteers started a new program called Book Buddies.

    “”The volunteers come into the playroom and read to the patients,”” said Stephanie Schulz, a physiology senior who co-coordinates Project Sunshine. “”Volunteers will also go to patients’ rooms and read to them there. It helps take their mind off of things. We also will give the book to the patient, so it promotes literacy.””

    The volunteers of Project Sunshine said getting the patients involved in something is a great feeling, one that makes everything worthwhile.

    “”Our motto is ‘Bringing sunshine on a cloudy day’; It’s just something for kids to take their mind off of where they are. Getting hugs, kids saying ‘thank you’ – it is all very rewarding,”” said Schulz.

    Schulz hopes to be a doctor in the future, so volunteering in a hospital was perfect, she said.

    “”It’s a positive atmosphere; it really benefits all the kids here. You feel better knowing you made someone’s day,”” said Schulz.

    Project Sunshine encourages students to get involved, whether one day a week or one day a month; the experience is meaningful and will make a difference, according to Schulz.

    “”I really enjoy volunteering in hospitals,”” said Amanda Cox, anthropology sophomore who also co-coordinates Project Sunshine. “”All of our activities promote happiness. My favorite part is seeing the faces on all the kids.””

    For the first time, Project Sunshine will be holding a fundraiser, on April 21, 22 and 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the UA Mall. Project Sunshine will be selling smiley faces for $1, and with that purchase, you will get a baked good. All the money will go to Project Sunshine to fund their crafts.

    “”Seeing the kids and how excited they are – it means something. It’s beneficial to everyone, including you,”” said Cox.

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