Choosing {Child} Life

by Aaron Ashley Yorn, Certified Child Life Specialist at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital- Tyler

Being a Certified Child Life Specialist at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler, I am reminded daily of the tremendous generosity of the individuals and organizations who support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The funds you give directly impact the Child Life Program, we are a team that is 100% funded by CMN Hospitals. Every toy that I give to a child is because YOU chose to give first. Every tool I use to explain to a child their diagnosis is because YOU chose to support age appropriate education for our pediatric patients. Every time I turn on the playroom lights, I am able to facilitate healing play because of YOUR giving. I see a space that is inviting, a space that is fun, a space that offers our patients the opportunity “just to be kids”. I see walls that were once plain now full of color that brings to life a mural full of peace. I also see you. I am reminded daily that without the kindness of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ donors, I would not be able to see faces aglow with joy during uninterrupted play, hear the laughter and carefree delight of children being chefs in our kitchen, artists at our art table, and caretakers of our baby dolls. I am humbled that YOU would choose to plant seeds of health in our children without perhaps ever knowing their name or hearing their story. Please know those seeds you are flourishing.

Every time, a Child Life Specialist is able to sit next to a child or teenager and provide age appropriate preparation for procedures, you are there. Every time a child life specialist is able to utilize tools and skills to promote effective coping for children, you are there. Every time, a parent is listened to, offered a break, brought a cup of water, you are there. You are there in first moments, as siblings meet their baby brothers and sisters for the first time, and you are there in last moments, when a child is able to make a finger-print mold or hand-print keepsake of their dying parent. When this child knows what means to die is and is given the resources to navigate their grief, you are there.

Seeing children able to experience of joy in a hospital setting is a beautiful things to witness. However, as child life specialists, we see another story as well. We see fearful faces of young children who don’t understand why they have to receive an IV. We see tired eyes of parents who did not expect to walk through our doors. We see the questioning hearts of families who need help finding the words to explain to their other children why the newest member of their family must in the NICU. We see tears of children mourning a parent who has just died in the ICU. We see real life. Life that can be messy and hard. Yet I am so grateful that these pediatric patients, the children of adult patients, and their families do not stand alone. YOU stand with them.

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