Fostering Philanthropy in Teens

Teens and pre-teens may not always have philanthropy on their active minds, but volunteering their time can have a healthy impact on their development and help establish a sense of community. Encouraging them to commit random acts of kindness is also a wonderful way for them to learn about empathy for others, says Dr. Mery Taylor, a CHOC Children’s psychologist.

“Volunteering helps to broaden teens’ understanding of the world so they can understand there are different types of people with different types of needs. Not everyone may have the same opportunities and abilities they may have,” says Dr. Taylor. “Anybody can use their talents to help others. Altruism can actually grow the areas of your brain involved in emotions, and make you feel good you’ll want to do it again.”

It can, however, be a challenge for young teens and pre-teens to find volunteer opportunities because of age restrictions.  OneOC is an Orange County-based non-profit that helps community members of all ages find service opportunities that match their personal interests.  The organization’s comprehensive volunteer calendar offers a list of opportunities throughout Orange County. OneOC also sponsors five annual days of service that bring individuals, families, businesses and schools together to volunteer throughout the year: MLK JR. Day of Service (January), Earth Day (April), 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance (September), Family Volunteer Day (November), and Spirit of Giving (December and April).

Additional ways for children and teens to give back include:

  • Clean out bookcases, toy chests and closets, and donate items to organizations that can accept them. Keep in mind that some organizations can only accept new items. CHOC can accept gently used books for our Family Resource Center.  Due to infection control guidelines, all other items must be newly purchased.
  • From selling lemonade to organizing a bake sale, kids can start their own fundraisers to benefit their favorite nonprofits. At CHOC, we’ve witnessed some incredible acts of kindness from children, including current and former patients and their siblings. For inspiration, read about Juneau and Jamie’s Girl Scout troop.
  • Find ways to earn, save and donate allowances. Children who wish to give back to CHOC can consider purchasing items for our patients from our wish list.

Volunteer opportunities at CHOC exist for teens ages 16 and older.

There are numerous ways to instill the giving spirit in children and teens, says Dr. Taylor. Commit to participating in community service as a family, and start a family conversation around why you are giving back. Remind them that there are many different reasons why someone could end up in a position of needing help. Parents are a model for their children, and even if your children are too young to actively volunteer, they will be able to see the impact of your regular volunteer work.

Toy Drive to Support CHOC Patients, Families Dec.19

CHOC is grateful for the support of our community, especially during the holiday season as people wish to remember our patients and families. Our annual holiday toy drive will be held Saturday, Dec. 19 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. in our employee parking structure, located at 557 South Main Street, Orange, CA 92868. We are unable to accept donations in the main hospital lobby.

Due to limited storage space, the donation of gift cards is encouraged. This enables our trained child life specialists to purchase toys and craft supplies based on the developmental age and gender of our current patients. Gift cards to stores such as Target, Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Walmart, Michaels, Barnes & Noble, and Visa/MasterCard gift cards are greatly appreciated.

Those wishing to donate toys can refer to our Wish List to choose from the items we find the most appropriate and popular with CHOC’s diverse patient and family population. We are always in need of more activities for our teen population.

Community members unable to participate in the toy drive but interested in donating can log on to and search for the “Children’s Hospital of Orange County” wish list. Donations will be shipped directly to CHOC.

Please note that we are unable to accept the following items:

  • Stuffed animals
  • Handmade blankets, hats, socks, etc.
  • Get well cards
  • Big items: bikes, skate boards, etc.
  • VHS tapes
  • Used toys
  • Clothing
  • Promotional items with company logos

For more information, please call 714-509-4519.

Thank you for your continued support of CHOC Children’s!

CHOC Patient Gives Back: Juneau’s Story

Juneau Resnick Speech

At 8 years of age, Juneau Resnick experienced a life-changing event. A close family friend, Gina, passed away after a devastating battle with brain cancer. Gina had devoted her life to working with infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Juneau, who spent the first 40 days of her life in a NICU, developed a special bond with her. Owing to her prematurity, Juneau developed hydrocephalus necessitating numerous brain surgeries. After a series of difficult events, Juneau’s parents transferred her care to Dr. Michael Muhonen, medical director of The CHOC Neuroscience Institute.

To honor Gina and to thank Dr. Muhonen and the CHOC team who did so much to improve her health, Juneau and her teacher came up with the idea of a fundraiser to coincide with the 100th day of school. In addition to passing out flyers, Juneau spoke in front of 700 people at a school assembly. She shared her personal experience with CHOC, and made a plea for each student to bring in 100 coins. Combined with a baked goods and lemonade sale organized by Juneau, the students’ donations totaled almost $1,000.

“She is truly passionate about helping others. She has an unwavering passion that I’ve never seen before and I work with kids,” says Juneau’s mom Ai, a substitute teacher. “I’ve seen a lot, and she is a rare bird.”

Juneau remains dedicated to continuing to raise money for CHOC. Every month, she partners with her teacher to sell pencils, erasers and other supplies at school to support an initiative dubbed Kids and K9, benefitting a local animal shelter and CHOC.

“I’m doing it to make kids happy and put a smile on their faces,” said Juneau. “I want them to forget where they are and just have fun.”

The young philanthropist is grateful for her renewed health and so happy to be under the care of CHOC.

Learn how you can start your own fundraiser for CHOC.

CHOC’s NICU Is Expanding to Better Serve the Families of OC and Beyond

NICU expansionFor several decades, CHOC has offered highly specialized care for the most critically ill babies. CHOC’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) proudly offers 67 beds in Orange, 22 beds in Mission Viejo, and a team of premier neonatologists who provide coverage at hospitals throughout Southern California.

To enhance our patient- and family-centered care experience and meet the growing demand for services, CHOC will expand its NICU with the build out of 36 private rooms, with potential for more beds in a second construction phase. Located on the fourth floor of the state-of-the-art Bill Holmes Tower, the expanded unit is scheduled to open in summer 2017.

Private NICU rooms are setting a new standard for improved patient outcomes. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that infants cared for in single-family rooms weighed more at discharge and gained weight more rapidly than those cared for in an open design. Also, they required fewer medical procedures, had increased attention, and experienced less stress, lethargy and pain. The researchers attributed these findings to increased maternal involvement.

Further, the private-room setting provides the space and privacy that parents need in order to be more intimately involved in the care of their baby, including breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, and parents can actually spend the night with their child. In addition, private rooms give staff more access to and interaction with the family and patient.

The unit will also feature a multipurpose family room, additional office space and other enhanced amenities.

CHOC’s NICU was recently named one of the nation’s “top 25” by U.S. News & World Report, reflecting the NICU team’s unwavering commitment to the highest standards of patient care and safety.

Learn more about our NICU expansion plans. 

CHOC Supporter Sandy Segerstrom Daniels to Be Honored on National Philanthropy Day

Sandy Daniels

CHOC Children’s supporter Sandy Sergerstrom Daniels will be honored with a Legacy Award for her philanthropic work with CHOC and other Orange County organizations at a National Philanthropy Day luncheon on Nov. 19 at the Hotel Irvine.

Sandy, a children’s advocate and C.J. Segerstrom & Sons managing partner, recently donated a $5 million lead gift to help establish the CHOC Children’s Mental Health Inpatient Center for children ages 3-18. When Sandy learned about the lack of psychiatric inpatient beds and services for children under the age of 12 in Orange County, she was deeply inspired to help.

The new center is the cornerstone of CHOC’s transformative initiative to ensure children and adolescents with mental illness receive the health care services and support they currently lack in Orange County’s fragmented system of care.

Sandy’s relationship with CHOC goes back about two decades, starting with her participation in the CHOC Follies, a beloved annual musical put on by community members to raise money for CHOC. This allowed her to combine her love of theater with her passion for helping children. Today, as co-chair of this special event, Sandy can be found on stage every year singing and dancing alongside other CHOC volunteers, who have helped raise nearly $8 million for CHOC.

Yet, her bond with CHOC is most evident perhaps through her own experience of having had a loved one receive care at CHOC.

“My granddaughter was only two days old when she went to CHOC,” she said. “It wasn’t just about the level of care she received, but how they took care of my daughter and son-in-law too – that’s what CHOC is all about. It’s specialized care and specialized, caring people. Supporting CHOC has been a labor of love for me ever since.”

Sandy’s life-changing work with CHOC and countless organizations in the community is a testament to her commitment to improving the lives of children and their families.  She will be recognized along with eight other honorees at the upcoming luncheon.

National Philanthropy Day Orange County honors individuals, businesses and organizations that have demonstrated philanthropy and enhanced their communities and the world.