Yo u ’ v e G o t a F r i e n d i n M e
By Topher Balfer
At O chsner Ho spital for Children , A mbas s ador s O f fer Companionship and Comfor t to Pediatric Patient s
Photo by Patricia Boehm Steve Purcell, Senior Story and Creative Artist; John Lee, Art Director; Graham Finley, Animator; Alyssa Del Vigna, Community Relations Specialist; Britta Wilson, Vice President of Inclusion Strategies
f all the relationships that define and shape a child’s life
dors come in. Their mission is simple: to lend a helping hand,
— parents, siblings, neighbors and teachers — there are
to share a smile and to offer some of the companionship and
none quite like the bonds they share with their friends.
togetherness that children need.
A friend can be the difference between a good day or a bad day. They can make an ordinary situation into an occasion for laughter and imagination. And in the face of difficulties, a friend can provide the strength and courage necessary to overcome any obstacle. When a child requires extended medical care, meaning time away from school, and the normalcy of a routine, the disruption to their day-to-day lives can be frightening and overwhelming without friends by their sides. At Ochsner Hospital for Children, that’s where the Ambassa-
Sharing a Smile Whitney Alford, Child Life Coordinator at Ochsner Hospital for Children, said that Ambassadors help to fulfill a therapeutic role in the lives of children by engaging them through reading and other activities. “The work of children is to play,” Whitney said. “It’s how they learn about the world around them and increase in cognitive, social, physical and emotional development. This can be