Millions of Americans adults go to hospitals on a regular basis to treat serious medical conditions like cancer. Struggling families have a hard time finding and paying for childcare for all the needed medical appointments. Fortunately, two women in Oregon started a non-profit that creates drop-in childcare at hospitals for parents seeking treatments.
It all began when, Amy Paterson, was diagnosed with breast cancer. That year she had 144 medical appointments for her chemotherapy; she also had a two-and-a-half years old son. Paterson struggled with arranging childcare for her son 144 and thought that there had to be an easier way. After talking with her friend, Melissa Moore, they realized that if gyms and stores like IKEA could have drop-in childcare why couldn’t hospitals? And with the help of their friend, Stephanie Smith, they created My Little Waiting Room.
My Little Waiting Room To the Rescue!
When a parent seeking emergency treatment or a routine exam cannot find or afford childcare, they usually bring their children to the hospital with them. This can be stressful for both the confused kid and the sick parent. My Little Waiting Room provides a stress-free cost-efficient solution to this problem. By offering a place for kids to play, My Little Waiting Room reduces the anxiety of parents while also providing a reliable, playful environment for the children.
So, how does it work? My Little Waiting Room advises hospitals on how to start their own drop-in childcare service. They provide models, help with marketing strategies, and assist in raising funds. The hospital uses the funds for creating the space and hiring childcare assistants. So far My Little Waiting Rooms can be found in local Portland hospitals including Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and Providence Portland Medical Center. My Little Waiting Room welcomes children between the ages of six weeks and 10 years old. There are no fees though donations are encouraged.
Accolades for Amy and Stephanie
My Little Waiting Room and the founding women have been acknowledged for their good works. They were awarded $5,000 from the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund in order to help launch the program. Paterson was named a Bright Starts Pink Power Mom in 2008. She has also been named an L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth honoree of 2012, receiving $10,000 in donated funds for My Little Waiting Room. This is why she’s our Mindful Hero!