For the last few years, TexLUG-Houston has done several activities with a local children’s hospital. These include displays of built models, and sessions where we build and play with patients and their families.
We were contacted by a representative from the hospital in late 2015 and asked if we would be interested in doing activities with patients. The hospital had recently received a large donation of LEGO® sets and the staff were looking for “experts” to help out. TexLUG-Houston immediately agreed.
About once a month a few members of our LUG will go to the hospital for a two-hour session. The parts are put out on a countertop in the recreation room; patients and their families can come in, then build and play however they want. We don’t force anything – we just let the kids play at their own pace, help find parts, give encouragement, and make suggestions when asked. Parents usually say they don’t want to build anything ... but after a few minutes it’s just too tempting and they start sticking pieces together.
Hospital privacy rules prevent us from taking pictures of the patients and families, but you can see a few photos of things they have built in this Flickr album.
In addition to the play sessions, about twice a year we do a display at the hospital. We set up on a wide pedestrian bridge connecting two parts of the facility. For 5-6 hours during the day patients, family, and staff walk by and see all the models. We may have a few stock sets, but most of the display consists of original MOCs.
Staff members bring patients out of their rooms just to see the display. Families take their time, stopping at each table to look at every model. Doctors, nurses, and technicians slow down and look as they walk by. We are told that on these days there is an extra “buzz” throughout the hospital: “The LEGO® masters are here! You need to go see them!” By our estimate, at least 2,500 people see the display each time. Photos of these displays can be found in Flickr albums here and here. You can also check out our website at http://www.texlughouston.com.
Time in a hospital can be difficult for anyone, especially children. TexLUG-Houston is proud of the little bit we can do to help alleviate the boredom and discomfort. We plan on continuing these activities for a long time into the future.
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Edited by Sara Skahill