Changing the Lives of Children

Sigma Sigma Sigma

Members of the sorority’s Chicago North Shore Alumnae Chapter visited NorthShore Evanston Hospital to see what their support has made possible.

A young girl with diabetes practices giving injections with the help of a doll to give her a sense of control and mastery over something which is out of her control. A toddler about to have a blood draw is distracted before the test by a projected scene of a beautiful blue sky, wispy white clouds and cherry blossom tree branches on the ceiling. If a child at NorthShore Evanston Hospital needs to have a medical test or surgery, there’s a good chance Child Life Services is involved, providing effective coping through play, distraction, education and self-expression activities.

Through generous grants, the Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation and the sorority’s Chicago North Shore Alumnae Chapter have provided Child Life Services more than $8,700 in funds to purchase two iPads, a Solar Projector, SkyCeiling, a bubbling Waterfall and a Medikin™ Doll, an interactive teaching tool that provides patient education for a variety of medical procedures.

“It’s great to see how our support benefits children and families, and makes their hospital stays more enjoyable and less stressful,” said Karin O’Connor, Alumnae Chapter President.

O’Connor said she and several members were recently touring the facility when the mother of a patient approached them and asked if they were responsible for some of the items in the playroom. “She said, ‘it’s so important to us. My child has a chronic illness and he’s here a lot, so I want to thank you for doing this.’”

This year, Sigma Sigma Sigma hopes to fund a “Wonder Wall,” which is an interactive magnetic game for kids to play with as they enjoy the activity room on the pediatric unit. “The room is a way of normalizing the hospital environment for our patients of all ages,” said Sorrelle Stanton, Director of NorthShore’s Child Life Services.

“We have a 20-bed unit here so we have children from one day old up to 21 years of age,” she said. “We do our best to make their experience in the hospital as stress free as it can be. The Medikin™ Doll purchased by the sorority is used all the time,” said Stanton. “If we have a child who is diabetic, we can instruct them in injections with the doll and it gives them a sense of control. The doll has a lot of attachments that the child life specialists can adapt so that both the child and parents understand what the procedure is and what to expect.” 

“The support we get from Tri Sigma is amazing,” Stanton added. “We wouldn’t be able to have all these special things without their support. We try to make the hospital experience non-traumatic and take away the fear of the unknown.”

Stanton said the sorority has also made about 50 small cloth dolls that children in the unit can use to draw a model of themselves or a family member. Sometimes children can express their feelings easier through the use of a doll they have created. “We love doing it and it’s so important to our members to have this kind of impact on children’s lives,” said O’Connor. “It’s gratifying to have a high quality program that directly benefits from our help. Child Life Services is remarkable and we look forward to furthering our support for many years to come.”

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