Do you currently work in Child Life? If so, tell us about your current position. If not, tell us about your Child Life history.
- I am a Certified Child Life Specialist and have established a one-person program at both Medical City Plano and Medical City Frisco. Medical City Plano is a level 1 trauma facility, and I provide coverage for the Burn ICU, Burn clinic, Trauma and to children of adult patients. At Medical City Frisco, I provide preparation and support for children before surgery, and coordinate special programing for the NICU, Women’s Services and serve as additional support for community outreach. I am also a PRN CCLS at Our Children’s House-Children’s Health and provide relief coverage to the child life team.
- I received my Master’s Degree in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2015. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from Texas Woman’s University in 2013. My internship was completed at OU Children’s Hospital, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
How long have you been connected with Child Life Disaster Relief and in what capacity (either directly or through our partnerships – Children’s Disaster Services, Camp Noah, etc.)? Briefly describe some of those experiences.
- I connected with Child Life Disaster Relief in 2017 through their partner Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). Shortly after my CDS training in April of 2017, I deployed for Hurricane Harvey relief in September of 2017.
- Following my training and deployment, I became a CDS Critical Response volunteer, and I have had the privilege to serve as a deployment lifeline (support person) through CLDR for several child life specialists during their deployments. In addition, I am now a Child Life Disaster Relief Local Program Manager in Dallas, TX, working to integrate child life specialists in responding to the needs of our local community.
What made you interested in working with children after disasters?
- I am very passionate about helping others, especially children. As a child, my family and I were always involved in local disaster relief efforts through our church. I have helped countless families salvage what was left of their homes as a result of a disaster. When I learned there was an opportunity to help children impacted by disasters, I knew this was something I had to be involved in.
What is your favorite memory from being involved?
- My favorite memory from being involved was during my Hurricane Harvey deployment with Children’s Disaster Services. I met a little girl and we instantly connected over our love of dance. She insisted we have a talent show and we made it happen!. Before leaving the mega-shelter she drew a picture of her and I dancing through the hurricane that I still have on my desk!
What advice would you give to others who are thinking of working with children impacted by disasters?
- Get involved! As child life specialists, we have the knowledge and skills to help children impacted by disasters. Your choice to get involved is a choice that could drastically change a child’s life forever. My involvement with CLDR has allowed me to grow in so many ways both professionally and personally. I am more passionate about working with children impacted by disasters than ever before, and I look forward to continuing to work with CLDR as we meet the needs of the children we serve.