Recently, the commons at Globe University-Madison West was filled with delicious baked goods, snacks and refreshments available for purchase for anyone who needed to tame their sweet tooth. For many, the treats brightened their day. But for one student and her classmates, the bake sale served a more serious purpose: To honor the hospital staff that served her family in a time of tragedy.
As part of their applied learning project in Professional Communications class, a group of students organized a bake sale to benefit the Meriter NICU. As medical assistant student, Courtney Charvat explained, “We wanted to raise $250. We thought it was a pretty reasonable goal for the two days we had and the means we had with fellow student involvement.”
“We raised $207,” said Courtney. “It was pretty close, but we learned so much, like how much effort goes into a successful event.”
The money went directly to the families who have children in the NICU to help with gas money, food, and everyday expenses they can’t afford while missing work. It also served as a symbol of appreciation for the work Meriter NICU staff do every single day.
Learning how to deal with group dynamics and engagement was a solid learning experience. “There were challenges that came along with working in a group setting,” said Heather Duborgel, massage therapy student. “Just getting to know each other’s personalities and learning what each person is willing to do, then making sure that we stay organized, then making sure that everyone is doing their part of the project was probably the main thing.”
The choice to focus their efforts on Meriter’s NICU was from Courtney’s personal experience with them. “I had a son in their NICU seven years ago, and the nurses were fantastic. What they did for families was amazing, so I wanted to give back as much as we could.”
The final part of their project was to coordinate a time to visit the NICU to donate the money, a visit that was difficult for Courtney. “My son didn’t make it out of the NICU, and going back there seven years later was very emotional for me. I didn’t know how I was going to do, but it was very rewarding.”
“They were really appreciative, and what they put on for us was pretty cool,” said Courtney. “They had a bunch of nurses come down and meet us. Mary, the donor coordinator, gave me flowers for having a son in the NICU. They were really appreciative and couldn’t thank us enough.”
“I think we all wanted to do more and tried our best. It was still pretty cool to see, especially just having a member of our group go through it,” said Hannah Moat, medical assistant student. “It touches your heart hearing her story and working with her on this project. I was glad that she had a good experience with the NICU staff to be able to make it a little bit easier on her.”
“We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Courtney and her fellow students at Globe University for their donation to Meriter’s NICU!” said Mary Novotny, donor communications coordinator at Meriter Foundation. “This gift means so much to us because of Courtney’s personal story, and her determination to do something more to help other families who have premature infants at Meriter. If you baked a cookie or bought a brownie, our sincere thanks for helping make a difference in the lives of our tiniest patients and their families!”