Children have two items they’re never without: Their stuffed animal and their blanket.
Students at CUNA Management School made sure those comforts were never far away for children who were in the hospital during a giveback event Thursday.
“This is going to a kid in the hospital who needs a hug today,” Andrew Johnson, senior program manager at the National Credit Union Foundation, said as he explained the giveback to the students.
The 93 second-year CUNA Management School students gathered in Grainger Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to make nearly 100 stuffed animals—including huskies, dinosaurs, alligators, penguins, and bears—and 50 fleece blankets for children who are patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa.
“It’s exciting to see our future leaders so enthusiastically giving back to the community, especially kids who might be going through a rough time and might need a little brightness in the day,” says Chris Perry, managing director of corporate partnerships with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Jason Hilt, an accounting and information systems manager at Lisbon (Maine) Community Federal Credit Union, made a Husky named “Sprocket” during the event.
“As simple as the activity was, it made me think that my credit union could do this a few times a year,” Hilt says. “It’s a minimal effort, but it makes a big emotional impact.”
Students heard first-hand the impact something as small as a stuffed teddy bear can have on a child in the hospital—and their parents.
Laura Eblen, director of awesomeness at Mazuma Credit Union and graduate assistant for the second-year students at CUNA Management School, told a story about her daughter who became sick and needed to be rushed into surgery.
“She had a bear that meant the world to her,” Eblen says. “In that moment, she was OK and she got to wake up and was surrounded by love. I hope you understand what that really means to the child and to that parent who is absolutely petrified.”
The students also reached out to families, friends, and co-workers to raise money, which will be used to fund the projects, the class’s scholarship fund, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and the National Credit Union Foundation.