RSOs, classes carry on CMU alum’s dream
A child lies waiting in a treatment room for the operation to start.
Waiting in fear, eyes scan the room. Surrounding the child are images of a pig who only wants to fly.
On the wall, the child laughs as a pig in an airplane is seen, and on the curtain is the same pig surrounded by birds. These images take the child’s mind off of the procedure and puts them at ease. This was Central Michigan University alum Brooke Wise’s dream.
Wise, in collaboration with artist Joel Tanis, was able to begin her dream with the creation of the art installation project “When Pigs Fly” for one treatment room in the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Wise’s ability to continue her dream was cut short when she lost her life in a car accident shortly after the installation project was finished in the fall of 2010.
After Brooke’s death, her father Tim Wise wished to continue his daughter’s dream through a series of events. HDF 510/Child Development Seminar: Promoting Resilience, two registered student organizations, Honors Program Philanthropic Society and Child Life Student Association, collaborated to keep Brooke’s dream alive.
Human and Family Studies Association professor Pamela Sarigiani started the beginning phases of this project after CLSA student Deena Martin heard about Tim Wise’s plight to keep his daughter’s dream alive while volunteering at the Children’s Hospital in Detroit.
“As I learned more about the purpose of Brooke’s dream, I could see that it would fit well as a service learning project for my child development class,” Sarigiani said. ”The course focused on using theory, research and practice to promote resilience in children, so my HDF 510 class (last year) started on phase one of the project.”
Students in HDF 510 learned about strategies child life specialists use to help children cope with stressful procedures and then developed presentations about the child life strategies.
Sarigiani got in contact with the art adviser and manager of Child Life Services at the Children’s Hospital, where Brooke had been interning when she lost her life, to talk about what Brooke had done and where to go from there.
Once the idea for this project was started, the problem of how to fund the project arose.
“In the fall of 2011, I talked with Judy Idema and the HPPS about helping us raise funds for this project,” Sarigiani said. “And they were very excited to get on board.”
HPPS student volunteers did multiple fundraisers all last year, such as selling bracelets, having a date auction and hosting a self-defense class. They raised more than $1,000, paying for the materials students needed.
“Our main goal was to make a connection and not just give the money we raised to the organization,” HPPS senior Tiffany Binno said. “It’s amazing to see what all the money we raised went to.”
Sarigiani and a group of participants went to the hospital and were given a tour by CMU alum and child development student Amanda Sayre who had been on the CLSA E-board during the beginning of the project and who now works at the hospital.
“When I saw the rooms in the beginning, they were so scary and unfinished looking,” St. Clair Shores junior and HPPS member Kristina Graham said.
The CLSA was involved in every aspect of the project. From going into the interior design classes and helping them bring their ideas to life to helping out the HPPS with their fundraising and, in the end, touring the facility and seeing the finished project with members from both classes and RSOs.
“Brooke’s dream meant so much to myself and the CLSA,” Lansing junior Samantha Byrnes said. “We are all very passionate about child life and helping children cope with their illness, so to see this project grow was amazing.”
Each room had whimsical pictures on the walls, ceilings, floors, curtains and even the lighting fixtures to help make the children that use them feel more at ease and less afraid before and after their procedures.
“I enjoyed sitting in on the design students’ presentation of the different ideas that they came up with for the treatment rooms,” Byrnes said. ”It was really neat that a few CLSA students and I got to give feedback on which designs would help children feel more comfortable in the rooms.”
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