Being in a hospital is a scary and traumatic experience, especially for kids, but two Belen Jesuit students have found a way to help, and to get our community involved in the effort to ease the daily strain hospitalized children feel.
It all started when Belen senior Luke O’Flaherty, a volunteer at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital since his freshman year, noticed that gifts donated and stocked into the hospital toy closets during the holiday seasons, were quickly depleted. While volunteering, Luke had learned that gifts given to the children are actually, “powerful tools in hospitals as they distract children from the realities they are facing, entertain them, and also keep the stress of off the parents and nurses who are trying to help them.”
Exemplifying the magis, Luke saw an opportunity to help and founded the non-profit Gifts4Kids, Inc. The charitable organization’s mission is to buy small toys, puzzles, and art supplies used to help comfort and entertain the young children who are in the hospital.
Not long after the official establishment of the company, Luke’s classmate, Sebastian Chamizo joined as Vice President and began using his talent to market the non-profit. “I feel I can use my skills as a writer to both better society in doing as much as I can in promoting donations to a reliable organization as well as better myself through constant writing and editing,” said Chamizo.
“They are great young men who are using their talents to serve others in this extraordinary way,” said Tommy de Quesada ’94, Dean of Men.
Looking beyond graduation, both students have already selected a team of underclassmen to continue the work well into the future. For now, Chamizo and O’Flaherty are working hard to ensure that the children at the hospital have gifts in time for Christmas.
For more information on the organization or to help their mission visit, www.Gifts4Kids.org.