June 30, 2008Through a new volunteer program, Cougars not only march for babies, but they also help children hospitalized for various illnesses, such as cancer.
Started last semester, Cougars for Kids is a University of Houston-endorsed program providing volunteers to local hospitals to assist sick children and their families. Cougars for Kids offers a formalized process for members of the campus community to contribute their time to support a great cause. The program is the brainchild of Jerry S. Evans, instructional assistant professor of information and logistics technology.
“The idea for the program came from my wife, Gilda, who worked for a Fortune 500 energy company and participated in her company's volunteer program where employees read to children,” said Evans, Cougars for Kids director. “I went with her one day to read to underprivileged, at-risk children, and I thought maybe we could have a similar project here on campus.”
Evans, who began Cougars for Kids in the College of Technology, continues to be excited about the project, and for good reason. More than 700 students and faculty across UH have joined the program, which includes Texas Children’s Hospital, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Shriner’s Hospital, Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital and The Methodist Hospital. Evans hopes to add Healthbridge Children’s Hospital to the program in the fall.
“It’s a great opportunity for anyone in the campus community to give back to kids who are struggling with medical illnesses,” said education senior Natalie Nguyen, who volunteers three hours a week at Texas Children’s Hospital. “You understand how fortunate you are when you see these children cope with so much.”
The Cougars for Kids program is open to anyone in the UH System community. Orientation sessions at the hospitals are ongoing and volunteers can select the hospital, choose the type of volunteer work they would like to do, and request a flexible schedule based on the frequency, day of week and time frame that best suits their needs. The volunteer application and UH medical release forms are posted at www.tech.uh.edu. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.