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Rancho Santa Fe resident helps patients as part of school project

Pacific Ridge School students Kate McInerney and Lily Klinek created craft kits for teenagers at the Rady’s Children’s Hospital as part of a school project. Courtesy photo
Pacific Ridge School students Kate McInerney and Lily Klinek created craft kits for teenagers at the Rady’s Children’s Hospital as part of a school project. Courtesy photo

Rancho Santa Fe resident Lily Klinek and her classmate Kate McInerney, from Carlsbad, are giving teenage patients at Rady’s Children’s Hospital a creative outlet during their hospital stay. The Pacific Ridge School juniors are creating more than 300 craft kits that will be delivered to the hospital throughout the year.

The first batch of kits, which include all of the crafting materials and instructions needed to make a small dream catcher, were delivered in April.

The idea came out of a school social action project called “Planting a Seed.” Each year, Pacific Ridge sophomores are asked to identify a community need and design a business, product or service group to address it.

“I think the atmosphere of the Planting a Seed project was extremely supportive and encouraging,” said Klinek. “It allowed us to start refining our idea and incorporate the feedback we received from our peers, our teachers, and a panel of experienced company leaders who were invited to the school to listen and give advice to each of the group student leaders.”

Klinek and McInerney drew from personal experience when creating craft care kits.

“We both knew what it was like to have a family member in the hospital and how scary it is for them,” said McInerney. “We also knew that the child’s parents might not have the time, money or energy to provide entertainment for their kids. We decided to work together to come up with a project to make trips to the hospital less scary for the children being treated.”

After giving a brief presentation to their peers at school, the two friends formed a larger group with classmates who were also passionate about the idea. Together, they created a business plan. McInerney said their goals were to set up an agenda, minimize costs, establish a funding plan, and create a prototype for a craft kit to help keep patients occupied and to help them decorate and personalize their hospital rooms.

The group gave a comprehensive presentation to the school body and earned a a grant from Pacific Ridge School’s service learning program to fund the project this year. Next year, the duo hopes to expand the project.

Future plans include establishing a feedback program so parents are given the opportunity to provide suggestions on what types of crafts they would like included in the boxes for their children. The girls also hope to devise a fundraising program to make it possible for others to sponsor the cost of the kits.

“Our favorite aspect of this project is being able to positively impact the experiences of the teens at Rady Children’s Hospital,” said Klinek. “We hope that our craft kits will continue to help the teens during their hospital stay.”


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