Meet CHOC’s Newest Family Resource Center Coordinator

Meet Rose Ovalle, the new coordinator of CHOC’s Family Resource Center (FRC), a space where patients and families can read and take home books, rent movies, play games, utilize a computer lab, research their child’s diagnosis with medical and developmental literature, and decompress with arts and crafts.

Q: What are your responsibilities as coordinator of the Family Resource Center?

A: I oversee the daily operation of the FRC, including coordinating and developing activities and events that ultimately provide comfort and education. This entails acting as a liaison to volunteers and working with them to meet specific patient and family needs. Ultimately my position is to support patients and families with their emotional and social needs with compassion and kindness.

Q: How does your position support CHOC’s commitment to patient and family centered care?

A: As the FRC coordinator, I assist patients and their family members while in the inpatient and outpatient settings. If you are a patient or family member and just need a place to relax, or you’re looking to pick out a new children’s book, perhaps searching for a distraction from the patient room to make crafts, or to join us for story time, we are here for you. We encourage patients to engage with our wonderful FRC volunteers who look forward to interacting, listening and supporting our amazing patients and families at CHOC. If you are a parent, please visit our business center should you have any computing, fax, or copy needs, or need resources to help you navigate the challenges of your child’s diagnosis or injury, or just to reach out with whatever needs should arise. Through an open and active dialogue that occurs daily I, along with our dedicated volunteers, strive to personalize how best to serve the individual needs of each patient and family.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career at CHOC Children’s?

A: I have had the experience of having a child in the NICU, and the fortunate experience of having that sick child cared for by the committed staff at CHOC. My son Elijah, had a serious virus when he was only weeks old. He was on a ventilator for some time, in the NICU, and there were many times we thought we would lose him. Were it not for the amazing CHOC physicians, nurses and staff, I don’t know how our family would have made it through such a difficult time. Elijah is now 15 years old, plays basketball and loves to write stories. He continues with his CHOC neurology outpatient treatment with Dr. Daniel Shrey and his staff, and they have always provided thoughtful and supportive care. This experience has certainly given me valuable insight and empathy in my interactions with other families going through similar experiences.

Q: What excites you about working at CHOC Children’s?

A: I know what it feels like to be scared and desperate in the face of having a sick child—it’s the worst feeling imaginable and can be disorienting without proper support. Providing a refuge for patients and families, where they can momentarily lose themselves in a book, or in a conversation with a volunteer, is a help; and for some, it can make quite a difference. In addition, providing resources to educate parents on their child’s diagnosis or injury helps keep them informed and part of the care plan. Being part of that process is not just exciting, it’s an amazing privilege to support these families and help them get through these challenging times.

Q: What do you want patients and families to know about the Family Resource Center?

A: We are in the Bill Holmes tower, on the second floor, open Monday through Friday 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. We’d love for patients and families to join us for story time every Wednesday at 1:00 pm. Please come by, we would love to meet you and your child if possible. If your child is unable to come by, feel free to pick out a brand-new book for them! Our volunteers are waiting and ready to be of assistance.

To reach the Family Resource Center, please call 714-509-9168.

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Family Donates Hundreds of Books to Honor Daughter’s Love of Reading

Dan and Kelli Cooper’s daughter Katie was an avid reader. Growing up in Chino Hills, she always had a book in her hand. “She would tell me she couldn’t do her chores because she was busy reading,” said Kelli.

When Katie was tragically killed in the 2014 shooting at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Coopers knew they needed to do something to honor Katie’s life and keep her memory alive.

Katie Cooper
Katie Cooper

Katie’s sorority was involved in several pediatric charities. Before she passed away, Katie had mailed an annual fundraising letter to family and friends asking for book and monetary donations that would benefit a children’s charity close to her school. The letter arrived in family and friends’ mailboxes just before her memorial service, and they saw that letter as a sign to continue Katie’s book drive, says Kelli. The Coopers learned about the Family Resource Center at CHOC Children’s, and chose it as a beneficiary in order to build its library for CHOC patients and their families. Katie had spent countless hours in the library on her school’s campus as a double major studying art history and classics with a minor in archaeology.

Hundreds of people brought book donations to Katie’s memorial service, and boxes of books came flooding in to Katie’s high school. An entire classroom at the high school where Kelli works was filled with books from people who wanted to help honor Katie’s life. Even more were dropped off at the family’s home, something that continues to happen more than one year after their daughter passed away.

“As a parent, you just want to know your kids are out there in the world doing good,” says Kelli. “Through these book donations, Katie is still giving.”

To learn more about the Family Resource Center or make a donation, call 714-509-9168.