Donations Get Children A Day of Fun At the Hospital

Sudents were quiet and attentive as Susan Gullo, a registered nurse with the Jacobi Medical Center, demonstrated to the class how to measure fluids by dipping a needleless syringe into a vat of water and pulling back on the plunger.

The nearly dozen students standing around the gurney were silent as they tried the maneuver themselves. Yet once the students, all first-graders at P.S. 175, got the hang of pulling the water into the device and pushing it back out again, the studious silence nearly devolved into a full-blown water fight.

About 40 first graders at the school got to miss some classes Wednesday, June 2, as they toured some of the facilities at the Jacobi Medical Center. Their visit included a tour of the pediatric emergency room and several ambulances.

The students were treated to the day of fun in return for 12 crates of children books the class had donated to the hospital for its Pediatrics Emergency Room. The students, with help from their families, teachers and communities, collected more than 400 books for the medical center, which will mostly go to children in the waiting rooms to read as they wait or take home with them. The Jacobi Medical Center Auxiliary donated several book carts to the facility as well.

“The books are an advantage for the kids to have,” said first-grade teacher Felicia Stevelman. “They can develop their dreams and imaginations through books.”

The first grade class has one major community service project each year and for the past three years, the class has been collecting used books and donating them to the hospital’s pediatric department. The number of books donated has always been the same, she said.

“We decided that every year we’re going to do a community service project. I had the idea about collecting books and [Patricia Cambria, another first grade teacher at P.S. 175] suggested we donate to the hospital, since her sister worker here,” Stevelman said.

During the tour Wednesday, children not only learned how to use the medical equipment, but by showing the children the devices in action, hospital officials also hoped to lessen the stress children may feel about facing future emergencies.

Although first grader Frankie Lubelli said his favorite part of the day was pretending to be a head-injury patient getting carted in on an ambulance, he agreed that learning about the equipment has made the hospital less scary. He had been once before, after falling off a ladder and breaking his arm.

Reach reporter Max Mitchell at (718) 742-3394.

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