In 2012, there were nearly 5.9 million hospitalizations for children in the United States. Without the educational and social environments that schools and day-to-day life provides, the days spent stuck in hospitals seem to be endless for pediatric patients. Children are often left isolated from their family and peers, with little opportunity to nurture the curiosity that so often defines childhood.
TEACH has grown from its inception in the Spring of 2013 into an international nonprofit organization that brings hands-on, educational activities to pediatric patients in over 22 hospitals across the U.S. and Israel. When TEACH volunteers visit, excited children experience science through interactive modules. Enthusiastic patients construct egg-drop contraptions to learn basic physics concepts, and delight in the creation of silly putty as they learn about polymers. The children observe the science of physiological respiration using yeast and air balloons; and they discover density by creating their very own lava lamps. The volunteers, wearing bright orange t-shirts, encourage children to think creatively while exploring a world currently out of their reach.
The lasting impact TEACH has made over the last few years is astonishing. A parent of a patient at Maimonides Medical Center remarked that her child’s participation in TEACH resulted in a wide smile lighting her child’s face for the first time in days! Another parent at Maimonides Medical Center noted: “I had the experience of having a child that was hospitalized with the stress, anxiety, and pain that follows…I’d like to compliment [TEACH’s]incredible program…for sending [a] volunteer. She was pure joy from the moment she [the volunteer] walked in, so patient, kind, and loving. [From] the time spent with her, my child felt like a kid with a friend for the first time in a while. We are thankfully out of the hospital, but still speak of her and her exciting science projects.” TEACH has been able to serve over 1800 children in 22 hospitals in the U.S. and Israel but hopes to expand in the coming year, to reach even more children. To support this endeavor, a campaign has been launched to spread TEACH’s mission and to secure the financial support necessary to bring educational and entertaining activities to hundreds of additional children. https://teach4kids.networkforgood.com/projects/45491-teach
Many of the student volunteers have been deeply inspired by TEACH and go on to pursue health-care related occupations. Isaac Snyder, President of TEACH, cited TEACH as the reason he changed his career goals and decided to pursue a career in medicine in order to treat children. “The pure unadulterated joy that TEACH brings to thousands of children makes me extremely proud to be President of such an amazing organization,” Snyder explained. “My first module that I ran at Downstate Hospital made me want to be as involved as possible. I had a bedside patient who had tried to run away the day before. After I explained the science, and we did the yeast balloon module together, not only was the patient super excited, but he would not let any of the staff take the yeast balloon away from his bed. Seeing how a friendly face and our experiments can drastically change a child’s day spurred me to want to get as involved as possible in such an amazing organization.”
In addition to expanding to additional hospitals, TEACH is looking for more students who would like to get involved with the organization. If you are looking for a way to make a difference in a child’s life, please consider joining TEACH! If you would like to become a hospital leader, volunteer, bring TEACH to a hospital near you, or you are an organization that would like to collaborate with TEACH, contact the President at Isaac.Snyder@TEACH4Kids.org.