Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Academy (HCA) students channeled the spirit of the season in December and volunteered to spread the holiday cheer. These future healthcare professionals worked together to give stuffed Christmas stockings to children in the McLeod Children’s Hospital.
The students were responsible for purchasing stocking stuffers suitable for male and female patients between infancy and 18 years of age. Emily Gaskins, an HCA sophomore said, “This is a form of helping those kids emotionally, which is a part of health.”
“Giving and wrapping gifts and stockings for the children in the hospital is a really amazing thing because I want to help kids one day as a pediatric nurse practitioner,” said Megha Patel, an HCA junior.
Using empathy, team building, and leadership skills the students stuffed gifts like bubbles, fuzzy socks, cars, dolls, and balls into 20 stockings. More than a dozen other gifts too large for a stocking were wrapped. Meredith Strickland, an HCA junior said, “This project showed me that you have to be full of imagination to be a doctor. You have to put yourself in the shoes of your patient.”
The HCA students also helped to deliver the stockings to patient rooms. After the delivery, one student said, “I’m really glad I did this. I felt like I was going to cry in the room, but I didn’t.”
The Academy students gave more than enough for the children’s hospital. The extra gifts were donated to the House of Hope and the Chrysalis Center in Florence. “Helping with this project just shows that not only do I want to help people in the future, but I also want to help people now,” said Darrian Gardner, an Academy sophomore.
For more information about the Health Careers Academy, please contact Health Careers Program Coordinator Larrissa Clavon at lclavon@