Mighty Blog

Children’s Minnesota child life specialists recognized by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center

Congratulations to Children’s Minnesota child life specialists Jodi Betsinger, Kristine Adams VanKempen and Samantha Schackman for receiving the 2020 Faces of Change Award from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center’s (NBPC) 6th Annual Unity Awards in recognition of their collaborative and innovative work in the cancer and blood disorders program.

Jodi, Kristine and Sam have joined together in creating therapeutic developmental and educational activities to help our patients understand and cope with the medical care they experience during their stay at Children’s Minnesota.

Cancer and Blood Disorders patient at Children's Minnesota

In addition to working on coping strategies with our patients, parents and siblings, they go to elementary schools with children who have cancer and bleeding disorders to teach the other students how to be inclusive when a child returns to school after receiving treatment.

They provide the students with explanations of their peer’s treatment, help them understand cancer diagnoses and offer a safe space to ask questions about how they can be of support.

The curriculum developed is a collaborative effort which includes home, school and community and is created to provide a better and more informed understanding for peer groups, fellow students, school nurses and teachers and addresses the importance of education about both the medical and emotional considerations for youth.

“We are incredibly proud of this group of professionals and the work they have done,” said Joy Johnson-Lind, senior director of child and family services. “This programming helps to empower and support the children served within our cancer and blood disorders program. Our team of talented child life specialists work every day to promote the continued development of children and adolescents to optimize their response to medical care, reduce psychosocial stress or trauma and to increase their understanding and ability to cope with illness and health care experiences.”

Thank you, Jodi, Kristine and Sam, for continuing to put kids first through your remarkable contributions in addressing and preventing bullying in the communities we serve!

Jodi, Kristine, Sam, and other award recipients will be honored in a virtual celebration that will be hosted virtually on NBPC’s website.