WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — Anyone who paid a visit to the cafeteria inside St. Joseph Health Center in Warren on Wednesday would have seen staff members and students playing basketball.
It was all part of a pen pal program the hospital shares with fourth-graders at Jefferson K-8 school in Warren. The pen pal program has been going on for six years and is sponsored by the St. Joseph Mission Committee.
This year, staff members built a special basketball court so they could shoot hoops with one of the students who is confined to a wheelchair. They even got some help from basketball players from Warren Harding, JFK and LaBrae.
“The employees look forward to it each year and they love it, and the students love it, and they get to know each other through the year and they are so excited when they get to come here today,” said Kathy Cook, president of St. Joseph Health Center.
Wednesday was the first time many of the pen pals got to meet each other in person, but some have met at other functions earlier in the school year.
The mission committee and hospital employees also sponsor other activities throughout the school year, such as a gift bag with bath time products such as a towel, wash cloth, body wash and shampoo; a collection of school supplies; and a food drive. Throughout the year, professionals from the hospital also make presentations to the students on various health topics.