Garden City High School Seniors 'Pay it Forward' for Patients at Winthrop-University Hospital

Vol. 13, No. 2
July, 2003

  • The Winthrop Legacy: People That Made a Difference in Our Community

  • Winthrop-University Hospital Cardiac Team One of First on L.I. to Use Drug-Coated Stent During Surgery

  • Winthrop-University Hospital Announces Anti-Slime Compound Could Be Used on Space Station

  • Winthrop-University Hospital Physicians Perform Groundbreaking New Procedure to Decrease Recurrance of Coronary Artery Blockages

  • Winthrop Puts Golfers in The Swing of Things

  • Garden City High School Seniors 'Pay it Forward' for Patients at Winthrop-University Hospital

  • Winthrop's Pediatric Task Force Leads Fundraising Initiative for New Pediatric Inpatient Center

  • Winthrop-University Hospital Helps Seniors Sort Out Mysteries of Medication

  • Winthrop-University Hospital Orthopaedic Surgeon Performs New, Small Incision Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement Procedure

  • Winthrop-University Hospital's 2nd Hispanic Health Fair Successfully Reaches Out to Hundreds in Community

  • Winthrop-South Nassau University Health System Joins New York's Largest Healthcare System

  • Golden Goose Gala Visits The Roaring 20s - Save the Date - November 15, 2003!

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  • Pat started out as an idea and a novel, has multiplied into a national movement. Schools all over the nation are participating in the "Pay It Forward" phenomena, and Garden City High School has jumped on the bandwagon! So, what exactly does that mean, and how does it pertain to Winthrop-University Hospital?

    Imagine you are a woman of childbearing age and are at risk for a difficult pregnancy, possibly one calling for long periods of bed rest. You are lucky, because you have access to Winthrop's Potter Two Patient Care Unit--dedicated to high-risk pregnancies, and obstetrical/gynecological services. The nursing care is excellent, and you receive the emotional support you need during this trying period of time. But, something just isn't right. Something is missing. Sheila Kelly, Nurse Manager of Potter Two, had it all figured out!

    "I had the idea of creating an environment of care that was visually stimulating and supportive," Ms. Kelly said.

    "I visualized having artwork displayed that had a global theme of women rising to and overcoming challenges."

    The Woman's Cancer Work Group Initiative Committee,

    co-chaired by Deborah Johnson, Vice-President, Administration at Winthrop-University Hospital, and Eva Chalas, MD, Chief, Gynecologic/Oncology, was supportive and receptive to this idea. Ms. Kelly got to work, and contacted her daughter's former instructor, Ms. Jane Rubinstein, also known as "Ruby," an art teacher at Garden City High School.

    Enthusiastically, Ruby gathered a group of senior students to "pay it forward." "Pay it Forward" is part of a campaign Garden City High School is participating in, to induce a positive atmosphere in the school, and to extend it further. "Pay It Forward" began as a novel and idea by author Catherine Ryan Hyde. The idea was to inspire young people to change the world. A part of the concept is to help children individually realize the needs of others, and to want to help out without expecting anything in return. This idea has catapulted into a national movement to "pay it forward" in order to give back. The design is based on reproducing good deeds, and creating positive cycles. For example, a student "pays it forward" by doing three people a favor, and in return each person must pay it forward to three more people. So on, and so forth.

    The senior art class at Garden City High School accepted this job willingly, and excitedly. From the start, they worked long and hard to help bring cheer to the unit at Winthrop-University Hospital. Even with college on their minds, and other stresses that overwhelm seniors in high school, these busy teenagers put aside their worries and found the time to worry about other people, instead.

    Senior Katie Kirby developed an idea entitled, "The Passage of Time in a Life." The theme would reflect upon the four seasons of life; spring, winter, fall and summer. Ms. Kirby wanted to portray women in a positive light, and wanted the women of the unit to relate to each mural in one way or another. "I want them to remember a happy memory reflecting each season," she said.

    The Garden City High School senior artists who donated murals to Winthrop-University Hospital in hopes to bring motivation and comfort to the patients in Winthrop's Potter Two include, Pictured: (Back row: left to right:) Michael Lennon, Jenna Doherty. (Seated: left to right:) Caitlin O'Brien, Mary Curtin, Lily Chehrazi, Mrs. Jane Rubinstein (art teacher), Joe Corrado, Kate Kirby.
    Ruby's students split up into four groups, each group working on one mural. Ruby supplied the materials, and the students began working. Magazine clippings and photos were the inspiration behind these works of art. The mural for spring displays a woman surrounded in beautiful flowers resembling a rose garden. The seniors chose this because spring symbolizes rebirth and beauty. It was meant to depict a new beginning for the women. Winter shows a skier going down the slope of a mountain that was chiseled into the shape of a woman's head. This scene represents being "on top of the mountain," or "on top of the world." The skier is on top of the mountain, overcoming any challenges that may get in the way. Fall is a mural with a different, fun style. It is the shape of a woman, holding a child's hand, and jumping over a tree. Looking at this mural could give you a real sense of freedom. The students at Garden City chose this layout to symbolize jumping over a woman's adversities, or flying over them boundlessly. And last, but certainly not any less unique or creative, is the mural for summer. A woman wearing sunglasses and a hat stands on the beach and builds a sandcastle. The sandcastle depicts the rebuilding of life. The ocean waves wash it away, and the woman can rebuild a beautiful sandcastle again.

    The student artists spent several weeks perfecting the murals and had them ready in time for Christmas, to bring holiday cheer to the unit. On December 20th, Ruby delivered the murals to Winthrop's Potter Two to lift the spirits of the women who maybe weren't having such a joyous holiday.

    "Art is a vehicle to reach people," Ruby said. She spoke very highly of her students, referring to them as being very charitable. She also said the murals were their way of passing on a good talent. Ruby wishes to carry on the tradition of giving to Winthrop in upcoming years, creating projects for her upperclassmen to donate to the hospital. She said she might even want to begin a project with the younger students, possibly for Winthrop's children's unit.

    "Ruby volunteered her students and they came up with the wonderful idea of four panels representing women in the different seasons," Ms. Kelly said. "We have them on display now and have received very favorable comments from patients, visitors and staff. I am very proud of them (Garden City High School students) and their hard work. I am touched and gratified by their gift."

    The murals were donated in hopes to "pay it forward" and bring motivation and comfort to the patients in Winthrop's Potter Two. The students that volunteered their time for this worthy project visited the unit in June to view their murals. They included Nicole Catalano, Lily Chehrazi, Joe Corrado, Mary Curtin, Jenna Doherty, Jenna Galizia, Kate Kirby, Michael Lennon, Scott Leuffer, Christine Manning, Courtney Norris, and Caitlin O'Brien.

    The Women's Cancer Work Group was established in 2002 in order to enhance women's cancer services at Winthrop. The Interdisciplinary Team has since established a pre-operative education program for women undergoing gynecological cancer surgery, and expanded programs to promote the early detection of breast or gynecological cancers. Project Community View Team is working with the cancer group to establish outreach programs promoting optimal breast health in medically underserved communities.

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