WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO WORK AT RADY CHILDREN’S?
I used to be an art teacher in elementary schools. I started volunteering for a nonprofit organization that uses art to
Rady Children’s employs artists of all kinds to help nurture patients as they heal.
empower youth in the border area in 2001, and as part of this job, I went to the San Diego Center for Children, Camp Pendleton, Polinsky Center, homeless shelters and Rady Children’s. When that organization moved to a different location, I kept coming to Rady Children’s as a volunteer, focusing only on hematology-oncology unit patients. In 2021, I was hired part-time to be a part of the Healing Arts team, which allowed me to work with any population within the Hospital. HOW DOES HEALING ART HELP CHILDREN? We help them by providing a creative outlet for their minds and bodies to focus on while they are sad, anxious or in pain. In many cases, it allows them to grow as artists, especially when I see them weekly when they are admitted for a long time. We also, when appropriate, engage the parents and other siblings, which allows the families to do something positive together in a moment of distress. BEST DAY? Any day that I notice an improvement in the child’s mood or pain level after an art session is a great day! BIGGEST CHALLENGE? Having to have lesson plans/ideas/supplies ready for kids of any age or circumstance at any given time. When I come in, I don’t know who I will be working with that day. It could be a 5-year-old who can’t move their hands or a 20-year-old who is a gifted artist and anything in between. I also give each child plenty of options! Art is something they have full control over, unlike their medical treatment. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR SO MANY KIDS? I feel honored and privileged to be part of such an important community that works collectively to provide the best care for each child. I’m very proud to work at Rady Children’s and I feel lucky that I have something to contribute to the healing process.
JOSE SMITH, MUSICIAN
Smith calms and entertains patients and families with his harp and accordion—he even takes requests. He also gives kids a first-hand look at his harp and lets them try strumming.
KARL ANTHONY, MUSICIAN
Anthony, a singer/songwriter, travels from room to room, engaging kids and visiting family members. He sings his own songs and sometimes writes new ones with help from the kids.
JAMES LUCAS & PATTI CHRISTENSEN, STORYTELLERS Known as the Patchwork Players Story Theatre, Lucas and Christensen bring their tales to life for audiences of all ages using improvisation and audience participation, costumes and props. They also use and teach magic tricks to patients.
FALL 2023 HEALTHY KIDS MAGAZINE 27
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