In association with Laureate’s Global Day of Service, a hardworking group of volunteers from BiTS2Society and the BiTS Honors Program, two student organizations based in Laureate Germany’s BiTS Iserlohn campus, headed over to the children’s station at local Bethanien Evangelical Hospital on Sunday, October 27, 2012. By 10:00 a.m. the students, mostly from BiTS’ Business Psychology study program, had unloaded the van and were ready to put a plan months in the making into action.
After noticing the bare, unwelcoming state of the sparsely furnished children’s “play room” during an earlier visit in which BiTS2Society had organized a Christmas Market Party for the chronically and terminally ill children spending their holidays at Bethanien, several volunteers approached the hospital staff with an idea: Could they repaint, decorate and renovate the children’s area, roughly 15 square meters in size, and furnish it with appealing furniture and toys?
The proposal was met with a warm welcome from hospital administrators, and after five hours of unpacking, hammering, attaching, priming, painting, organizing and decorating, three closets stood filled with books and toys; many donated by the staff of BiTS, many purchased from the funds gained from earlier charity drives and from a generous donation from BiTS President and CEO Dr. Thorsten Bagschik. In addition, a cradling moon and sparkling northern star cast a warm, inviting glow over the cheerful butterflies, turtles, bees and snails now gracing the walls.
Hospital administrators were particularly grateful for one item brought by the students. After learning children’s fears could be calmed, and the effects of anesthesia confirmed, immediately before surgery by giving young patients puzzles to work on while waiting in their beds outside the operating room, BiTS staff were especially generous in donating a plethora of portable versions to augment the hospital’s previously limited supply.
The children watched with eager fascination all day long, and stormed into their new play area upon completion with delight, clearly distracted for a brief but priceless time from the reasons for their stay. The BiTS students left an indelible mark in another manner as well: a bright sun casts welcoming yellow rays across one wall’s new blue skies, each ray composed of the volunteers’ handprints.
Many thanks to the BiTS staff for their donations, and to the students who poured their organizational, physical and creative skills to make a sterile room vibrant with life.