CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – A non-profit in Chapel Hill is bringing fun, interactive science experiments straight to the beds of kids in the hospital.
“One day, I decided to see if I could bring some of the science stuff to the hospital, it just had a really amazing impact on the kids I served,” said Katie Stoudemire.
Stoudemire created the non-profit Wonder Connection 16 years ago.
The group works one-on-one with kids at UNC Children’s Hospital.
Patients can choose an activity to do, from building volcanoes to painting and creating birdhouses, while they wait in their rooms.
“You get bored when you’re here so it’s fun to have stuff to do,” said patient Dulce Perez-Garcia.
CBS 17 visited Dulce Perez-Garcia just a few days before her 15th birthday.
She was set to ring the bell a few hours later, marking the end of this round of cancer treatment. Before she checks out of the hospital, she is building a volcano with her mom.
“We didn’t really have time to spend together because of work and school but these months we’ve been together we really know each other,” said Dulce’s mother, Maria Hernandez.
Last year, Wonder Connection was able to serve 3,325 kids, teens, and family members.
Since 2006, more than 25,000 kids, teens, and families have benefited from the local non-profit, according to Wonder Connection.
Volunteers and staff visit with kids at UNC Children’s three days a week. The non-profit is funded through grants and private donations.
“When you’re stuck in the hospital for days or sometimes weeks at a time, it’s nice to have a break and something fun to do [because] the hospital is not fun. They’re going through something so hard something that you never want to see your child go through so watching him be excited about something and smile and laugh,” said Camie Tawes. Her 11-year-old son, Caleb, was a patient at the hospital.
Caleb said doing these types of fun activities helped the day go by faster.
“The days kind of drag on. You’re laying there you’re sitting there the nurses are coming in and out doing their job it’s nice to have something to break up the day and get a good laugh, ” said Tawes.
The work Wonder Connection is doing goes beyond bringing a sick kid something to do to pass the time. Surrounded by machines and monitors, activities like this give these families a chance to feel normal.
Click here Wonder Connection to donate or volunteer with Wonder Connection.