May 17th, 2016 | SMWC
By: Katie Shane
Equine students create unique service project for Riley Hospital patients
Young patients of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis now have a fun activity thanks to equine students at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Each year, students from both the Hunt and Western teams participate in a community service project, this year deciding to color outside the lines of traditional projects by creating an equine-themed coloring book for children.
“Both of the teams have been trying to do these projects as one unit. In the past years we have done service projects for Relay for Life, but this year we wanted to try something different, more hands-on and make it our own,” explains SMWC Hunt Seat Equestrian Team Captain Sarah Kenderdine.
Making the project their own and super personal, the students designed the coloring book, even creating unique art for the cover designed by SMWC equine studies sophomore Audrey Dixon of Richmond, Ind.
Once the pages were compiled from online submissions and original student art, Kenderdine reached out to Riley Hospital for Children with the intention of giving patients a small distraction and bright activity to do during down time or to use during treatments.
With more than 250 beds at Riley, Ann Hannan, director of the Riley Cheer Guild and Music Therapy program, says the hospital welcomes donations from the community. Hannan explains that even the smallest activities can be a huge benefit to children battling illness.
“Many of our patients stay overnight or are recovering from surgery or procedure. In addition, many of the children may see two different physicians when they come in, so having those types of things available at the desk so families can pick them up when they come in, that can help to increase their overall satisfaction,” Hannan explains. “Everything from small craft kits, coloring books, games, puzzles, a decks of cards – they really appreciate getting those things. It is something small but it has a really big impact on the children and families.”
The impact doesn’t just stop with the families and patients but positively affects the SMWC students as well. Kenderdine, a junior from Paris, Ill., says the project was a bonding experience for the teams and was fulfilling for each athlete to be able to share her passion for the sport with children.
“It meant a lot to all of us because we are all involved in the industry and always looking for ways to expand that,” she explains. “Hopefully this will bring joy to their day and expose them to the horse industry. It is really gratifying for all of us that it was our own creation, and we got to distribute it.”
Helping with the process was local Terre Haute printing company, Big Picture, which printed the pages and cover.
Once printing was complete, both teams then gathered together to compile the books. While working on the project Kenderdine says many of her teammates voiced their excitement to be lending their time and talent to such a worthy cause. Service to the community is just one of the strong lessons and practices taught to each student at The Woods. Kenderdine says it was an honor to be able to carry out that mission.
“This opens a student’s eyes to how important service is in the community,” Kenderdine explains. “The Woods has a rich history of service in the community, and we are each taught to do things for people when you have an opportunity. I think we all realize that if you are able to do something for your community, even the smallest things to help, you should certainly do it. I think every student realizes that during their time here.”