1,260 Hugs and Counting
Students at the College of Southern Maryland have a heart and mind bent on service, demonstrated through projects each semester with results that have fed the minds, bodies and spirits of the local community. For Leonardtown students in CSM Professor Michael Maloneys psychology and sociology classes this spring, that service equated into bear hugs for young hospital patients.
Encouraged by Dr. Patrick Allen, chair of the Social Science Department, the students donated 1,260 Teddy bears and stuffed animals for patients at Childrens National Hospital in Washington, D.C.
This was a huge donation for us, said Mary OBrien with Childrens Hospital Volunteer Services, of the three carloads of stuffed animals delivered by the students. Describing the Teddy bears as having universal appeal, OBrien said, They provide comfort to babies and toddlers as well as to teenagers or kids waking up from surgery. It makes a big difference to help give that sense-of-home for our patients.
The Teddy bear drive was coordinated by Scottie Brannon of Great Mills following a hospital stay by her 5-year-old daughter and seeing the impact stuffed animals could have on young patients.
I was surprised and extremely, extremely happy after counting everything up, Brannon said. I had only seen a couple of Teddy bears being dropped off, one or two here and there, but when I saw them all gathered together in Mr. Maloneys classroom I was blown away. I couldnt have been happier. It was a great feeling to deliver them to the hospital.
Known for his penchant to provide service, Maloney encourages each semesters classes to be involved in community service. His fall semester students donated 2,159 pounds of food to the Southern Maryland Food Bank. That drive, organized by Connie Churchward of California and Robin Lamphier of Hollywood, helped the community while creating a venue for students to get involved in a good cause. It has shown me just how giving each and every student is, said Lamphier, and that when we all pull together, we can accomplish great things.
To learn more about service learning at CSM, visit the Center for Civic Engagement and Service-Learning at www.csmd.edu/servicelearning/ .