Bright Futures, Generous Hearts: Teens Give Back To Their Community In A Big Way

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Ean Wells holds his favorite childhood book, “Holes,” in front of books he collected for CHI’s pediatric department.

South Florida teens, Ean Wells and Sofia Araoz have more in common than just being in high school. They also share a passion for giving back and connecting with their community in a meaningful way. Amidst the challenges of navigating college plans and balancing their studies, they took the time to create an opportunity to help those in need.

Last summer, Sofia participated in CHI’s Youth Volunteer Program. During the 6-week program, she collected gift bags for patients being treated in CHI’s Crisis Stabilization Unit. These thoughtful packages, filled with items like fidget spinners, coloring books, and puzzles aimed to provide comfort and alleviate anxiety for patients in the unit.

“We collected 19 packages for patients, and they were super grateful to receive them,” said Araoz. “They said thank you and a lot of them immediately started opening their gifts.”

Araoz, a high school senior with an interest in pursuing a career in law, was excited to take advantage of her time last summer working in the Risk Management department at the Hammocks Health Center. She learned the foundations of malpractice in the medicine field, as well as assisted staff in registering patients on MyChart, an online portal that allows patients to manage their health information in one place.

Eans Wells displays the note that young readers will see when reading one of his donated books.

“The whole experience was fulfilling. I felt like I helped a lot of people,” she said. “Patients were glad to hear about MyChart because everything is more accessible. I was happy to show them a new way of accessing their health information.”

High School Junior, Ean Wells, found his own unique way to contribute to the community by sharing his childhood passion: reading. This Spring, he generously donated 300 books to CHI’s Pediatrics department that will be delivered to several CHI health center locations.

Wells reflected on reading some of his favorite books like “Holes” and “Because of Mr. Terrupt” as a child.

“Reading was the base for my education growing up and it has helped me so much,” he said. “Giving the same opportunity to other kids to develop good reading skills, I hope they can benefit from it as well.”

Sofia Araoz delivers gift bags to the Crisis Stabilization Unit staff to hand out to patients.

Wells rallied his fellow classmates and friends at school to join his cause, effortlessly collecting additional books to donate. An assignment that he says he pulled off with ease.

“I have a lot of friends, and everyone has books from when they were kids,” he said. “Most people were willing to help!”

Wells plans to organize another book drive within his school community this Spring.