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Phoenix Children’s Hospital Teen Board hopes to embody young spirit of service

Photo Courtesy of Brendan Burg ’17 | The Phoenix Children’s Hospital Teen Board is composed of students across the valley who host fundraising events for toys, games, and other materials for the well being of patients.

By Juan Carlos Ramirez ’18

Phoenix Children’s Hospital teen board is an organization founded two years ago by two Xavier mothers who sit on the actual Phoenix Children’s Hospital Board.

Vice President of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Teen Board and member of the executive teen board Brendan Burg ’17 said that the purpose of the teen board was to be a more youthful offshoot of the original board.

“The two of them came with the idea of potentially making an offshoot in terms of a teen board,” Burg said. “So that there is a youthful energy out in the community doing the same work that they were doing.”

Burg added that he recruited Drew Burns ’18, Bennett Houck ’18, Cole Yandell ’17 and Grant Hushek ’17 to form the board, but the board is not only a Brophy-Xavier student organization.

Burns said that there are other schools involved on the teen board as well.

“In the Phoenix Children Teen Board, there are a lot of high school kids form across Arizona high schools,” Burns said.

He added that some of these schools include Arizona School of the Arts, Phoenix Country Day School, Chaparral High School and Arcadia High School.

Yandell said that their main goal as a Teen Board is to make the children’s stay at the hospital much more comfortable.

“The main focus of the board is to fundraise and plan events for the children at the hospital and make their lives a little bit easier,” Yandell said. “Provide them with more games, toys and other things.”

Burg said that as the vice president, he is in charge of community outreach and service events.

“We have done a movie event for the rainbow kids, which are hospitalized kids who are too sick to go out but are finally not contagious or healthy enough to be in the community,” Burg said. “We have done a puppy dining event. The kids love service dogs. That is always a good one.”

Burg added that a significant event that the Teen Board did the previous year was a red wagon roundup.

“We ended up donating somewhere around $48,000.” Burg said. “This year we are doing something kind of like that. We are more focusing on giving the hospital resources rather than just monetary donations.”

Yandell said that being on the Teen Board has affected him in the most positive way through his interaction with the children at the hospital.

“At the [red wagon roundup], a good amount of patients came,” Yandell said. “Just meeting them and interacting with them was just awesome to actually see what the cause was going to and seeing the kids faces.”

Burns said that he believes that it was a good opportunity for him to volunteer, which is something he said he likes to do.

“I have always loved volunteering,” Burns said. “I felt like this was such great connection to me because when I was younger, I would go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. They were so nice and supportive. I felt like this personal connection was the perfect reason for me to join.”

Burg said that currently the Teen Board is working on an event at Chase Field for helmet safety, awareness and traumatic brain injuries.

Burg added that he meet Dr. Jonathan Lifshitz, who is in charge of the U of A neuro trauma unit, in attempts to get him a grant for research on possible correlation between traumatic brain injury and sleep loss.

“He approached the board, and we got him a donation of $10,000,” Burg said. “By the end of the process he said, ‘Hey, I would love to get some more high schoolers in here learning about what we do and what the hospital does. I would love for you to work in here.’”

Burg said that he took the internship with another student from Phoenix Country Day School, and he did most of the field research while the other student did most of the engineering.

Overall, Burg said that he has grown in a different sense than most people would think.

“Brophy does a great job of connecting you to the community, so I can’t even say I’ve learned that much about that,” Burg said. “I think the hospital is an awesome place, and I maybe have learned more there than I have from Brophy but in a different way. Not saying that one is better than the other. I think that I have really learned a lot about how it is to be a community servant and to be a leader among a group of people who have a really christian and golden ideal in mind.”