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Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida
Suncoast Credit Union Supports Essential Childhood Experience
Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida offers a number of unique programs and services aimed at providing comfort and distraction, and normalizing life for young patients. The hospital school program—and teacher Garrett Gablehouse—work hard to ensure that hospitalized children do not fall behind in school.
“Providing a full-time school teacher is one of the things that distinguishes full-fledged children’s hospitals from community hospitals that provide general pediatric care,” explains Michele King, Golisano Children’s Hospital director of child advocacy. “We are interested in family-centered care and providing the whole well-being experience for our pediatric patients and that means providing services such as the hospital school program.”
In Florida, in order to qualify for a home-based teacher, students must miss 14 consecutive days. “With the hospital school program at Golisano Children’s Hospital, students can be seen the day they arrive,” Michele says. “Young patients are often worried about missing school and falling behind, and 14 days is just too long for many students to go before continuing their academic studies.”
Garrett agrees. “I’ve found that the children miss school and really want to learn as much as they can while they are hospitalized,” he says. “I’m giving them something to think about to take their mind off of being sick and away from home and loved ones.”
Some young patients may be hospitalized frequently or for extended periods of time, while others may only have a short stay. Garrett is there to help them all. Or, if a child doesn’t need help with school work, Garrett offers fun things to do, like educational board games, time on a computer or even science projects.
Like many other programs and services at Golisano Children’s Hospital, the hospital school program is supported by philanthropy. Funding from a grant from Suncoast Credit Union (formerly Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union) Foundation helps to build and provide this important educational experience.
“Philanthropy is essential to the program,” Michele says. “It covers 100 percent of the cost of the program. In fact, to date, Suncoast has given more than $206,000 for the hospital school program, and has pledged $250,000 for a classroom in the new Golisano Children’s Hospital. Since we don’t currently have a classroom, we’re looking forward to an interactive space where patients can come together to learn and study.”
Suncoast Credit Union also supports year-round Health in Education initiatives, including Germaine the Germ Thing, Mission Nutrition and My Body Safari, which provide valuable health information to school-aged children
Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida School Program