04 Dec Kids Week Leaves a Lasting Impact
Imagine a child who has never been trick-or-treating. Imagine a child who has never been to a carnival, never had cotton candy, never been to a football game, and never decorated a pumpkin. For many kids at the YOC, that is their reality. Born of the desire to provide residents with a week of special opportunities and staff the chance to interact more with residents, the YOC recently hosted its first ever Kids Week.
The brainchild of newly appointed Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Gisselle McKell-Jeffers, Kids Week was marked by a noticeable absence of regularly scheduled staff meetings, providing them more time to spend on kid-centered activities.
McKell-Jeffers and her staff planned a jam-packed week of fun for the kids, reminiscent of what is commonly known as Spirit Week at many schools. With themed days such as Pajama Day and Crazy Hair and Sock day, staff and kids embraced the opportunity to celebrate together. Activities such as costume making, pumpkin decorating, watching fall movies and more filled each afternoon after school. Further contributing to the festive atmosphere, departments from Human Resources and Counseling to the Foundation and the Business Office and Admissions decorated their office spaces to create a spooky setting for Halloween. Staff even worked with kids to create costumes that were then worn during our campus-wide Trick-or-Treating event on Halloween.
Throughout the week, as part of the amazing recreation program headed by Recreation Coordinator Kendi Zvokel, staff were able to cheer for resident athletes as they played two football games and one basketball game. Kids and staff also enjoyed a visit from a local celebrity, Ball State University’s Charlie Cardinal. Charlie took in some of the resident football game, handed out high fives, and took a quick tour of campus. The week culminated with a festive Fall Carnival in the YOC gym. Carnival games, cotton candy, ice cream and inflatable obstacle courses provided hours of fun for both kids and staff.
All of this was made possible through generous donations secured through a Facebook Fundraiser. In just 2 short days, the YOC was able to raise nearly $1,100 and secure in-kind donations, all from publicity on the social media platform, allowing the YOC to provide all these amazing activities with minimal impact on organizational finances.
Whether you talk to residents or staff, all will tell you Kids Week was a resounding success that made a lasting impact on all involved. Staff from departments across campus developed a stronger connection to mission—to the kids. Kids felt valued, seen and special. One thing is certain. The YOC’s first Kids Week will not be its last.
New Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Gisselle McKell-Jeffers was the driving force behind the YOC’s first Kids Week.