Palmer Trinity School sophomore Maia Wenger recently delivered approximately 100 caps for children undergoing surgery at Baptist Children’s Hospital. She got the idea after being at the hospital for surgeries on her brother, who has special needs.
“I’ve always seen him in the pre-op room with the blue surgical cap,” she says. “I raised money to buy fabrics like Disney ones.”
She raised more than $200 for the first set of caps.
“I plan on keeping going,” she says. “And go back in December and donate 50 to 100 more.”
It took about 15 minutes to make each cap. Friends helped with the sewing.
“One of my mom’s friends knows how to sew,” Wenger says. “She did some of them.”
She’s starting now to raise the money for the second set of caps. She has a Facebook Page and an Instagram account for Caps for a Change. She raised the initial funds through social media and from friends.
Now, before surgery, children are shown the caps and are allowed to choose which one they like. They have choices from Disney type fabrics to animals and sports.
Currently, Wenger is working on generating ideas for her Girl Scout Gold Award project. She knows her project will involve Baptist Health, but she hasn’t settled on the best concept just yet. Her plan is to start the project next summer.
She earned her Silver Award while still in middle school. For her Silver Project she raised money to buy portable DVD players for children in the chemotherapy and radiation wards.
Over the last three years, Wenger has volunteered at the Temple Beth Am Summer Camp. She usually works with two and three-year olds.
“I love them. I love being with little kids,” she says. “They are fun and adorable.”
Wenger also volunteers for Friendship Circle. She and a friend go once a week to play with a 13-year old special needs boy.
“We play sports with him. Most of the time he likes going on trips, so we pack his suitcase even though he’s not going anywhere,” she says. “And we do puzzles with him. We go outside and I throw balls.”
She doesn’t feel bad about packing the suitcase because the boy understands he’s not going on a trip and he’s fine with it.
This is her third year working with him.
“My plan is to stay with him until I graduate,” she says.
She also volunteers with Breakthrough Miami.
“Last year I was a general volunteer. This year I’m one of the teachers for sixth grade,” she says.
She loves volunteering for the program that works to motivate kids who attend schools in under-resourced communities.
“The kids, when they see me, they are happy to see me all the time,” she says. “They always have smiles on their faces.”
At Palmer Trinity, Wenger is a member of student government and the Math Club. But what takes most of her time is being on the varsity soccer team. She’s been on the varsity since eighth grade. She started playing soccer at age two and played travel soccer from age nine until this year. She stopped playing travel soccer this year because she wants to concentrate on academics.
“It’s too much and I’m in a bunch of Advanced Placement and Honors classes,” she says. “I couldn’t go to more soccer practices a day after playing soccer at school every day.”
The high school soccer season starts Nov. 6. Wenger believes the team is positioned to have a good year.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld