Chattanooga teen makes blankets for sick kids in hospital
While most kids were having fun during their senior year of high school, 18-year-old Kendal Lowe was making blankets for sick children.
“I was excited because I just really wanted to make even a small difference in someone’s life here at the hospital,” said Lowe.
The teen has a heart for helping others which is why she spent two summers volunteering at Erlanger Medical Center.
“I was able to experience the new life that was coming in and I was able to watch the mothers as they were welcoming maybe their first child or maybe their third and it was a really warm and loving environment,” said Lowe.
She was part of Erlanger’s longtime VolunTEEN Program for high school students.
"They transport patients by wheelchair. They walk family members to wherever they need to go. They deliver ice and water and blankets to patients. Sometimes they'll sit and read with a patient or they'll deliver flowers to rooms,” said Emilia Jones who oversees the VolunTEENS.
Teenagers have to go through an application and interview process before they are chosen. It is an opportunity for them to help others and get a closer look at careers in healthcare.
For Lowe, the experience sparked inspiration and passion. “I decided that I wanted to combine two things that I enjoyed the most and that was making blankets and I enjoyed volunteering at the hospital. I decided that I would combine those two and make blankets for the hospital,” said Lowe. As part of a class project before graduating from Ooltewah High School in May, Lowe spent months making colorful blankets by hand and donated two big, full bags to the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.
The soft blankets are going to sick children there as a way to keep kids warm and provide comfort. .
"In Kendal's case, she really took the service part to heart and after she was a VolunTEEN she remembered the passion here and made the blankets and the kids are going to love those blankets,” Jones told Channel 3.
Lowe is headed to college in the fall at the University of North Carolina where she plans to study nursing and someday return to the hospital to work in the NICU.
“Being able to help babies and make families happier is my goal,” said Lowe.
If you know a high school student who is interested in becoming a VolunTEEN, it is too late this summer but applications will be ready March 1 next year.
Erlanger staff tells Channel 3 that often times many of the VolunTEENS do return after college to work at the hospital.