We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love. -Mother Teresa
If you visit one of our branches on September 14th, you’ll notice our staff wearing jeans. It’s not a casual day – we’re wearing jeans for a reason – the reason being that we’re participating in Miracle Jeans Day to raise funds for Credit Unions for Kids (CU4Kids). CU4Kids is the third-largest supporter of Children’s Miracle Network in the U.S. (fourth-largest if you consider all of North America), and it is a comprehensive fundraiser for our industry’s charity of choice. All the funds that we raise will go to our local hospital, Seattle Children’s Hospital on Sand Point Way.
In May, I had an opportunity to tour the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) with CU4Kids. The experience was life-changing. There was the smiling toddler with a mohawk in the Diabetes ward, wide eyes taking in the magic tricks performed by a volunteer magician. Kids with family and staff in tow, participating in some moments of childhood normalcy in the playroom. Playing with toys, creating arts and crafts, bearing face paint designs on delicate cheeks. There were more smiles than I was expecting, and though the equipment surrounding us made it hard to forget where we really were, it was reassuring to see the efforts that go into making the hospital as comfortable a place as it could be. We were able to see how our fund-raising had helped to leave a positive legacy, as we toured the family areas created to provide what comforts it can to family members awaiting their child’s treatments, or to catch a few hours rest and respite from long days at the hospital.
We finished our tour by visiting the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Never before had I seen children so tiny and vulnerable. They seemed so fragile, some preemies smaller than my hand. My chest tightened, and I held back emotions that I feared would overwhelm me – it didn’t seem right for me to cry at CHOC, when so many patients were bravely facing challenges I’ve never had to face. The only tears I saw at the hospital were the ones that my colleagues and I were blinking back as we felt the impact of what our efforts were supporting.
As we emerged from the NICU, our guide reframed what we’d just seen. “Thanks to CU4Kids and all our supporters, we’re able to give hope where once there would have only been despair. We’re able to focus on the things that mean so much in an experience, in providing comfort to patients and families, and seeking to understand what we can do to provide emotional support in addition to medical support. Thanks to our supporters, we are working to give more children a chance.” A few decades ago, many of these children may not have had that chance to grow stronger and make their way home.
Talking with a wonderful colleague, Diana, whose son has benefitted from the care at Seattle Children’s – she remembers her son sharing that he felt so comfortable with the staff at our local Children’s, and she credits their kindness and thoughtfulness and care with helping him to heal faster. She seems especially struck by Children’s commitment to provide treatment to all patients who walk through their door – providing care to all children who need them, even if their families do not have the insurance or means to pay for it.
The more I learn about CU4Kids, the more stories I hear of the difference that a Children’s Hospital has made in the lives of those who make up the world around me. Whether it’s for treatment they received as a child, or care given to children in their lives whom they love, the stories have a common thread of wonder at the service that they provide to our communities, and the experience that they had.
If you’d like to join us in raising funds for Credit Unions for Kids to benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital, please stop by a branch and purchase a paper balloon for a dollar. Every dollar will go to help the littlest people, not one turned away.
We’ll be wearing jeans to celebrate Miracle Jeans Day September 14th. We hope you will join us.
Sasha may be the shyest social person you’ll ever meet. She joined Verity in 2009, with a couple years in the Credit Union Movement already tucked under her belt (amidst coffee-making and bagel-slinging, running a non-profit, and trying her hand at farming).
An eternal optimist (except, you know, when she’s not), she enjoys exploring her surroundings and having adventures with friends; yoga, running, reading, writing, and good food. Though not a remarkable cook, she is nonetheless a sincere one and admits she’d be better if there were three more hours in every day. When not doing one of the many activities mentioned in the previous two sentences, she counts herself lucky to be peacefully at home, cuddling with her partner and their cat.