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 DHS News December 2013     


“Magical Sparkly Greeting Cards” Are Delivered to Some Holiday Project Recipients

The Holiday Project overseen by the Office of Community Relations (OCR) Events and Donations Team receives generous contributions of both gifts and volunteers’ time. But one gesture this year stood out because of its unexpected link between two groups of children with needs.  

About a dozen children receiving speech therapy services at Children’s Hospital South made holiday cards to send good wishes to the children assisted by the Department of Human Services through the Holiday Project.

Events coordinator Brendan Hanschen said the cards from Children’s came with a note that said they were “Magical Sparkly Greeting Cards.”

Greeting CardsRhonda Rockwell, speech therapist at Children’s South, kickstarted the card project with a group of teenaged girls she sees in a pragmatic language speech group. She had read a newsletter article published by UPMC about its Karing Kids program and contacted UPMC human relations to see if Karing Kids could find a home for the cards.  The program’s volunteers assists with the Holiday Project, and so HR put her in touch with Brendan.

For Rhonda’s clients, the card project served many needs. Children with pragmatic speech deficits must have practice in the community. And such practice helps build their confidence, Rhonda said.

“The girls were just enthralled with the idea of another child opening their card and being cheered up by them,” she said. They were also thrilled to find out from OCR that the cards had been received and would be given to caseworkers to distribute.

“They’re going to be sharing that story at their holiday with their family,” Rhonda said.

“I think it’s cool. I really do. It’s the first time I can recall anything like this, especially kids to kids,” Brendan said.

Rhonda said all of the 12 speech therapists at the Children’s South location eventually joined in the project, with their clients contributing cards. Besides the people at DHS who warmly welcomed the contribution, Rhonda thanked her supervisors, Lynn Rankin, David Hammer and Kristin Straka, for their support.

“The card project is a win-win situation,” Rhonda said.

The January issue of the DHS News will feature more stories about the Holiday Project.



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