16 Aug, 2018

Event recap: Children's Inn at NIH

Kaitlyn O'Connor

Event Recap  
Blog Types

Read time: 1 minute, 32 seconds

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides families with leading-edge pediatric research and clinical care while their on-campus Children’s Inn, just a short walk from the NIH Clinical Center, offers a comfortable residential environment that is a “Place Like Home” for families of children with critical illnesses. The Children’s Inn at NIH is working towards the day when no family endures the heartbreak of a seriously ill child. Their core values include honesty, responsibility, and open communication to share ideas, a sense of community, and responsiveness to others in need so each family staying at the Children’s Inn feels a sense of belonging, safety, support, and care.

Each year, SMPS DC members have the opportunity to participate in the Children’s Inn at NIH’s Family Meals Program, which invites volunteers to provide and serve a large meal to families staying at the Inn Sunday through Thursday. Upon our arrival, first-time volunteers were given a tour of the Inn before dinner started. The Children’s Inn has amazing amenities for the entire family including three large kitchens with secured refrigerators and freezers for each family, indoor and outdoor playgrounds, a game room, a teen room for older children, a business center for parents, an exercise center, outdoor sport court, and a multi-purpose room for family activities. The Children’s Inn accommodates families from across the country and around the world. During our visit, the Inn was nearly full with 57 of their 59 rooms occupied.

As volunteers in the Family Meals Program, SMPS members hosted a special build-your-own taco dinner where we met families as we served them dinner. While most of our volunteers stood in the dinner line serving families, some had the chance to meet and play with the children. We came equipped with toys and crafts for children to enjoy while they ate their dinners. Each child was able to make their own picture frame for their favorite memories from the Children’s Inn and take home small toys and sunglasses provided by our SMPS DC volunteers.

We were happy to see such a large turn out from both our members and the grateful families staying at the Inn. As an event that our Community Outreach Committee hosts year after year, we encourage all SMPS DC members to join us in giving back.