ASU March of Dimes Club builds care packages for families of premature babies

On Saturday April 27th, ASU students helped put together care packages for families of premature babies who are in the hospital waiting for the day they can take their new born home. Tempe City Councilman Kolby Granvile was one of the many participants in the event. (Photo by Hector Salas Almedia) On Saturday April 27th, ASU students helped put together care packages for families of premature babies who are in the hospital waiting for the day they can take their new born home. Tempe City Councilman Kolby Granvile was one of the many participants in the event. (Photo by Hector Salas Almedia)

The ASU March of Dimes Club participated Saturday in Project Baby, a volunteer project in which students created care baskets for parents and families of newborn babies in neonatal intensive care units across the Valley.

Students who attended the event put together care baskets made of blankets, tissues, deodorant, toothbrushes, coffee, snacks and various personal hygiene supplies.

ASU March of Dimes Club President Katrece Swenson, a biology sophomore, said the items are things parents staying in the hospital with their newborns need.

"It's the common things," she said. "You don't have a home when you are in the hospital. It's just the little things to make it more comfortable for the families that are staying there."

Swenson said working with March of Dimes on service events such as Project Baby is important to her, because she was born premature.

"It really hits home knowing that (March of Dimes) really did help me and my family when we were going through hard times," she said.

Swenson said she knows that Project Baby will assist people that need help, even if she is unable to see firsthand the good that is being done.

"We aren't going to be able to see exactly what happens," she said. "I think just knowing that we are really helping these families and that we are providing comfort for them is enough in itself."

Film and production junior Jared Doles, the former president of March of Dimes, said he hopes families going through tough times will be able to receive comfort from the care packages.

"More than anything, I hope that we can show families and show the hospital that there are people who know what is happening to them, who understand the struggles they are going through and are here to support them," he said.

Doles originally secured a grant to cover the event with the assistance of Youth Service America, which helps groups secure funding.

"We wanted to do a project that had been started by the March of Dimes office, but (the office) didn't really have funding for it," Doles said.

Doles said the project was supported by many ASU organizations and companies, including Circle K International, Community Service Coalition, Changemaker Central, Marriott Hotels and Stride Gum.

Heather Johnson, community director for March of Dimes, said the organization works to prevent prematurity, birth defects and infant mortality.

Johnson said Project Baby helps give hope to families waiting at hospitals in situations where they cannot really help their baby.

"A lot of times, when babies are in the (neonatal intensive care unit), families feel this sense of hopelessness, because there is not a lot that they can do for their baby at that time," she said. "These care packages and knowing that the community cares really gives them a sense of hope, knowing that there are people standing behind them."

Tempe City Councilman Kolby Granville attended the event and said service events and clubs such as Project Baby are wonderful opportunities for students to create and develop solutions to problems.

"It's a time in your life when a unique mix of things crosses over: time, energy and a growing ability level," Granville said. "They cross over in a really unique way that allows for special things to happen."

Reach the reporter at sgslde@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @shelbygslade


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