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Volunteer Finds a Creative and Colorful Way to Help During Pandemic

Lauren has volunteered at Shriners for Children Medical Center — Pasadena for two years while attending a local high school in La Canada, California. She is now a senior and will graduate in 2021. As part of her volunteer work, Lauren created a mini library in the lobby, which included books in various languages and reading levels. She, along with the volunteer department, also started a summer reading program where they would visit and read to patients in clinic rooms or in pre-op.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the child life volunteer program was placed on hold. This did not stop Lauren from continuing her work. She was inspired while reading with patients from the Pediatrics Orthotic and Prosthetic Services department, and was in awe of their strength. She also noticed a language barrier with the patients. This inspiration led her to write a bilingual children’s book in English and Spanish called Katarina the Ladybug. Lauren received help from her grandmother, Ana Swanson, who also illustrated the book.Katarina the Ladybug is a heartwarming story about a young girl with a prosthetic leg and her relationship of encouragement with her grandmother.

Lauren was given the opportunity to present her first book to a patient in October. The two shared a moment of understanding, hope and compassion as they read the book together. It is because of volunteers like Lauren that the medical center is able to provide high-quality care in a family-centered environment. Lauren, you are our sunshine.

The future is bright for Lauren. Her favorite topic in school is biology and she is a self-proclaimed “science nerd.” She became interested in volunteering at Shriners for Children Medical Center — Pasadena because she loves to work with people and hopes to one day become a pediatrician. With compassion like you have demonstrated with patients, we hope you do!

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Lauren with patient holding book

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