Member Spotlight

On the Member Spotlight page, we celebrate the accomplishments of our diverse, talented, and innovative members.

If you have suggested content for the Member Spotlight, please send photos or video to communications@childlife.org



Kristen Lawrence, M.Ed, CCLS - Child Life Specialist, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

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Kristen Lawrence, M.Ed, CCLS works as a child life specialist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. In 2016, Kristen played a vital role in providing end-of-life care to the family of a patient who had been diagnosed with brain death after an accident. She met with the patient's parents and two siblings, assessing each member's understanding of the situation so that she could identify the emotional state and needs of each person. She also helped create plaster molds and ink prints of the patient's hands to help families make memories. Kristen provided age-appropriate education for the children about the death of their sibling, offering resources such as - coloring books, teddy bears, and a journal to soothe them. Furthermore, she participated in the organ donation discussion with the family, using age-appropriate language to help the children understand the organ donation process. Her participation led to a monumental decision, a match for five children on the organ donation waiting list. Kristen mentions, "I feel so thankful to be able to support children and families through some of the hardest circumstances they’ve ever had to face." Read the article on Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's website for more details about Kristen's experience: https://www.chw.org/newsbreak/may-26-2016/child-life-and-expressive-therapies-impact-hospital-experience




Angie Koeneker, MS, CCLS - Child Life Specialist, Van Tassel Funeral Home

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Angie Koeneker, MS, CCLS has worked within the field for more than 15 years. Recently, she went beyond the traditional hospital route and started serving children at a funeral home in New Jersey. Angie secured the opportunity by developing a plan to change the way children experience funerals and conducting outreach to funeral directors across northern New Jersey. Her plan caught the eye of Izabela Van Tassel, owner of The Van Tassel Funeral Home in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Together, Angie and Izabela organized a formal preparation program for children and families. Programming includes - a book to help explain funerals to children, a guided tour, and therapeutic activities. A room was also designated for children to take breaks and utilize play to help them process the funeral experience. According to Angie, "Each funeral or visitation is unique, as is our approach with each child and family." Angie's services have been met with widespread praise, and have benefited a number of children ages 3 to 18. Read Angie's article about her impact as a child life professional within the funeral home setting: http://www.childlife.org/docs/default-source/membership/kids-say-goodbye.pdf



Carolyn Schneiders Fung, CCLS - Program Director, Hope for Henry Foundation

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Carolyn Schneiders Fung, CCLS became a Child Life Specialist in 2008 and joined the Hope for Henry Foundation in 2012. She became the first full-time, in-hospital staff member for the organization. During this time, Carolyn initiated a new patient incentives program - Hope for Henry's Super Path to Super Duper Better. Carolyn's exceptional work ethic helped her transition into Hope for Henry's first Program Director. In her role, Carolyn handles a number of critical responsibilities including - establishing hospital programming, embedding full-time child life specialists, and securing programming partners. For more information about Hope for Henry and its child life program, visit: 
http://www.hopeforhenry.org



Jennifer Fieten, CCLS - Operation Smile Volunteer, India

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Jennifer Fieten, CCLS went to Durgapur, India as a volunteer for Operation Smile last August. She, along with numerous other volunteers ranging from surgeons to speech therapists, provided services for children, adolescents, and adults in need of cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries. Jennifer offered preparation and procedural support for those requiring blood drawings during the screening process and provided preparation and pre-surgical play for the children on surgical days, often accompanying the children and teens to the Operating Theater. “It is an incredibly humbling experience to serve children and families in these underserved areas. During each mission, I find myself re-evaluating my own priorities, re-considering my perspectives on healthcare, and looking for ways to better advocate for those unable to advocate for acceptable healthcare for themselves.” To learn more about child life volunteer opportunities with Operation Smile, visit www.operationsmile.org



Divna Wheelwright, MA, CCLS - Cultural Sensitivity Workshop

Cultural Humility Workshop Spotlight

Divna Wheelwright, MA, CCLS is Manager of Child Life at Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. She recently provided a comprehensive cultural humility training with a specific focus on the intersection of child life and social justice. The team was lead through a series of exercises designed to uncover unconscious bias, explore the concept of microaggression and increase the quality of their advocacy skills. Staff were prompted to role play complex clinical scenarios in which race and culture intersect front-line healthcare. They considered questions, such as "Is it a child life specialist's responsibility to advocate for the underserved? How would you approach a member of the care team who you witnessed providing care differently based on a family's culture?"



Hang Yin Candy Lo, MA, BC-DMT, RDT, CCLS - The Power of Play

Hang Yin Candy Lo, MA, BC-DMT, RDT, CCLS is the director of Piece of Sky, a creative arts therapy and counseling service in Hong Kong. She works with kids in hematology/oncology units as a dance/movement therapist and child life specialist. Please watch this inspiring clip filmed by the American Dance Therapy Association.

 

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