Inspiration comes in all shapes and colors.
Last December, Maushmi came to learn that Southern California volunteer Michele works with an organization that sends anonymous greeting cards to women in third world countries. What a great idea thought Maushmi.
In planning an upcoming Compassion Cell in Houston, Maushmi decided that the kids of Texas Childrenâ€™s Hospital could use some of that same inspiration. Maushmi mentioned the idea to Michele and weeks later received a package in the mail that contained over one hundred colorful get well cards made by first grade students from Woodland Hills School in California. It turns out that Michele mentioned the idea to her sister, who mentioned the idea to her daughterâ€™s teacher and the teacher decided to get the entire class involved.
The Texas Childrenâ€™s Hospital in Houston serves children that range in age from newborns to teenagers. On Saturday, May 27th, Maushmi and her team of volunteers went to about 30 different rooms visiting different kids and dropping off anonymous greeting cards.
Maushmi knew this was going to be difficult. It is one thing to be with children, and another thing to try to comfort them in their time of need. Maushmi knew that she had to take on any nervousness she felt head on, especially considering that Micheleâ€™s niece and her friends had worked so hard on making the cards in the first place.
Maushmi recalls their visit:
Most of the patients or their parents were amazed that someone would be so thoughtful to make these cards. One patient, only two weeks old, was born with down syndrome. Although we werenâ€™t allowed to visit any infants of that age, the mother of the child whisked us inside. It was a really strange experience. You would expect the mother of the child to be disappointed at the fact that her child was born with this life long disability, but no, this mother couldnâ€™t have been happier. In fact, it seemed as if the debilitating condition of the child wasnâ€™t even on her mind. The mother said she was going to keep the greeting card we gave her until her child grows up to read it. Maybe thatâ€™s just the way mothers are. Maybe having a baby is just a beautiful thing in of itself, and irrespective of the childâ€™s condition, there is joy in creating that life.
We had a lot of fun. One patient we visited was from a quadruple set. We gave a card to the sick child, and all of a sudden the other brothers and sisters wanted a card too. Kids do have a way of finding joy no matter the odds. At least five of the kids we visited were recovering from some form of congenital heart defect (such as a heart murmurs) but they were unconditionally happy. They were running around, playing games, and laughing to their hearts content. You couldnâ€™t tell that they had just gone through major heart surgery as recent as a few weeks ago.
The volunteers seem to have been touched not only by the kids they interacted but also by the cards themselves. Below is a list of some of the messages on the cards:
â€¢ My name is Briana. I like the color purple. I hope you feel better. I am a first grader. I like playing soccer. — Briana
â€¢ My name is Sahil. I am 6 years old. I lost 4 teeth. I like all sports. I like the color blue. — Sahil
â€¢ I am visiting my grandma and grandpa. I am going to Big Bear on vacation. The weather is sunny. Do you think the hospital is scary? — Marley
â€¢ It is sunny and rainy today. My teacher is nice. I hope you feel better. What do you do in the hospital? How are you feeling? — Claire
Maushmi coordinates community service projects on a regular basis in Houston. If you want to contact her, please email email@example.com.