After a recent successful Student Government Association club fair on campus, the Kid Companions leadership held an orientation event for their new members at the St. Benedict Children's Home in Georgetown. The orientation gave new members an opportunity to get to know the club's chief partner in its outreach as well as the home's young residents.
Typical Kid Companion visits to the children's home mean gifts: in this instance, crayons, colored pencils, drawing paper, toys, clothes, and food prepared by the students for dinner. The group makes sure to have enough for everyone, including the St. Benedict staff.
Garrett Cole, current president of the organization offered up a summary of the day, “Today was our orientation, our first visit here for the new first term students. It was organized for them to get to know the kids and start building a relationship with them.” All members were given an outline of the afternoon’s activities, because while the event itself is in the spirit of fun, it is also definitely a working-visit for Trinity students. The priority is on the children and doing the most they can for them with each trip. Events like this are a fantastic primer on the intricacies of patient interaction: as physicians, even when the tone is casual, the priority is always on the patient and their needs.
The day's activities were broken into two categories: indoor arts and crafts, and outdoor group games, with each Trinity student partnered with a specific child. Much like establishing care with a patient, the Trinity students developed a rapport with their partner, and (because of the special needs of many of St. Benedict's residents) began to assess readiness for each activity and check in with staff on any necessary adaptations.
Some first-timers were overwhelmed by how much they, and their young charges, enjoyed the activities. Luke Carlson commented, “My wife and I had seen the Facebook posts and we always wanted to go, but our schedules never lined up. After that expo at school, we signed up and made sure that we made plans to be here. We love it. It's so much fun, I hung out with Omar and Dwayne a lot and we threw the football for the whole time. It was wonderful.”
Carlson recognized that there just weren't enough staff for the personal attention the Trinity students could provide, and was glad they were able to offer it to the children. His colleague Kristyn Poopert added, “It’s a break from doing regular classes, and useful for me because I want to go into pediatrics. It's also a lot of fun working with the kids.”
At the end of the day, after a great first outing of the new term, the kids settled down for dinner and Trinity's future physicians returned to campus and their academic work. Trinity's Kid Companions currently have two other activities this term at the St. Benedict Children’s Home, and plans to operate for the foreseeable future as another element of the school's student-driven culture of outreach and care.
Keep scrolling for more heartwarming photos from the day. Photos in part by Stephan Hornsey and Moriah Carlson. Courtesy of Jesse Antonietti and Trinity School of Medicine Kid Companions.
You can find out more about Kid Companions by following them on Facebook here.