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School and Community Reintegration for Pediatric Burn Patients

At Shriners Children’s Boston, we treat burns of all kinds, including chemical burns, electrical burns and flame burns. In cases of severe and life-threatening burn injuries, our pediatric patients may sometimes stay in the hospital receiving care for several months at a time. As our patients heal, the idea of going back home and returning to school can be very exciting. However, it can also be very stressful and intimidating. That is why Shriners Children’s Boston has several programs designed to help our patients reintegrate at school and in their communities following a long hospital stay due to burn injury.

Fezzy Goes to School

Missing school can be particularly hard for our patients – and it can be hard for their friends back at school as well. They often miss the child and have lots of questions. Fezzy Bear is sent to a child's school to stay in their classroom while they're gone. Classmates and the patient are able to send each other letters through Fezzy Bear, giving everyone something to look forward to.

School Re-entry Program

A child might return to school with scars, a prosthetic arm or leg, or a wheelchair, but they’re still the same inside. Our School Re-entry Program educates teachers, classmates and other individuals about the child’s injury or condition and how they can support the child in their transition back to school. This education may include on-site visits from staff members to the child’s school, personalized picture books describing the child’s recovery story, and a personalized DVD made by staff members discussing the child’s abilities, needs and necessary accommodations.

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Patient Hunter holding the Fezzy bear he uses to pass notes to and from the classroom during his hospital stay.

Team Brave Community Reintegration Program

Team Brave is a partnership between Shriners Children's Boston and the Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation (BFFBF) in which patients with burn injuries venture out together on fun outings and field trips. In the past, Team Brave has visited butterfly gardens, gone ice skating, played golf, enjoyed bowling and rock climbing, and expressed their creativity through painting and cooking. On these outings, patients can work on physical goals such as balance, fine motor skills and range of motion. They also practice psychosocial skills including building self-esteem and confidence, developing peer relationships and improving body image. Team Brave outings also provide opportunities for pediatric patients to be inspired and build camaraderie with the Boston area firefighters who volunteer their time to engage, encourage and empower.

After a hiatus due to COVID-19, Team Brave is thrilled to be back in action. To mark their return, Team Brave recently rode around town in one of Boston’s treasured Duck Tour boats. Each patient then had the opportunity to play captain and direct the river cruise around the Charles River! Staff members, patients and volunteers from the BFFBF had a blast, and everyone is looking forward to many more wonderful outings.

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Team Brave member Angel is all smiles during their clay room outing.

“Team Brave is a group for kids just like me. It is for burn survivors who just want to have fun, be themselves, and not have to worry about questions or scars. Everyone’s been through it and we all get it. Together, we’ve made pasta from scratch at Sur La Table, we’ve created masterpieces at the paint bar, and we’ve perfected our warrior poses in yoga. The best part is that we’ve gotten to do it all with Boston Firefighters! They’re so much fun! Team Brave has changed me. I don’t have to be nervous anymore when I go out into the world because I’ve learned that everyone is different. I can be myself, and lots of people will accept me the way that I am. I’ve learned that it’s about more than my skin, it’s what’s on the inside that matters.” – Shriners Children’s Boston patient, Angel, 10 years old.

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