Holiday fun cheers up Starship kids
An extra dose of fun and enjoyment is just what the doctor ordered for children at Starship hospital these school holidays.
Youthtown, a charitable trust that has been helping young people express themselves and develop self-esteem for more than 75 years, has now developed a holiday programme for young people who are either in hospital as a patient or a visitor.
Youthtown’s programme director Sian Neary thought it was a great idea to give young patients and their siblings a chance to enjoy the fun activities other children get when school’s out.
She says the staff at Starship are rapt with the enterprise, which is likely to become a regular holiday fixture.
“Even in a fantastic hospital like Starship, life can get a bit boring for the children in the wards and for the brothers and sisters who, during the holiday period, come visiting with their parents,” she says.
Sian organised the project late last year after being approached by hospital play specialist Rata Ririnui.
Rata says she is thrilled with the outcome because even though each ward has a play room, it has been diffi to facilitate the extra children that visit during the holiday periods.
“We’ve had lots of positive feedback about how great it is to have something here,” she says.
“It’s a really great service.”
The activities Youthtown has provided Starship these school holidays include Maori weaving, creating mosaic mirrors and making stars which will become part of a giant mobile to hang in the hospital’s jungle theme atrium.
There are resources provided to cater for up to 30 children, with activities organised daily into two twohour blocks.
Other activities included making photo frames and collages, as well as facepainting, dress-ups and storytelling.
And for those who wanted some quiet time on their own, Youthtown took along lots of books.
Youthtown holds afterschool and school holiday programmes at centres located in central Auckland, Panmure, Pakuranga and Takapuna. – Carly Tawhiao is an AUT journalism
Star struck: Six-year-old Dylan Drysdale grabs the glue stick while his eight-year-old sister Hana cuts out a shape. They’re making stars for a giant mobile to be hung in the hospital’s atrium.