I woke up this morning and put on a dress, some sandals, and some Lipsense just like most mornings, however this morning was special to me because I was not going to work; I was heading to Shadyside Hospital.  Usually hospitals make people nervous, and this was not an exception to those cases, but this nervous feeling was also a feeling of excitement.  I have been to Shadyside I believe maybe two other times in my life, so I arrived early to get there to see where I was going.  I parked, got my things together and went on the hunt.  

If you have never experienced Shadyside Hospital, you are missing out on the world’s greatest maze except that the signage is amazing.  I made it to where I needed to be and stood in the hallway waiting to be greeted as I was a few minutes early.  I was greeted by the social worker and we went into the meeting which was informal but I was still nervous.  

I pitched my idea with my prepared sheet and I showed off one of the bags I had brought with me.  Pouches of Positivity came to fruition in a matter of an hour, and I was overcame with joy.  I did all of my necessary paperwork to become a certified volunteer as well so that I can spread the word and visit patients when I come back.  So what is this project and why should you care?

This project is care packages for adults with Cystic Fibrosis that are staying in the hospital at Shadyside (why Shadyside?  because that’s where CF patients stay when they are inpatient from the Pittsburgh clinic).  These care packages have all new items that help a hospital stay seem a little less boring.  Things like adult coloring books, activity sheets, colored pencils, itunes cards, chapstick, snacks, candy, gum, pens, stress balls, and the list goes on and on.  Currently there is no other program like this for CF patients that are over 18.  

Of course, this project is close to my heart as is my boyfriend, James.  As you may know, James has CF and is one of the most caring, friendly, loving, and strong people that I have ever met.  His strength and positivity is amazing to me which is what lead us to picking this name for the project, and of course knowing that there is a need for this population makes this project special to me.  He has been helping me bringing this project to light and giving me ideas of what he would think would be cool to have in these packages.  

As I sat at the meeting getting praise for this project, I felt myself become overwhelmed with joy.  There are no other words when something so passionate to you comes together.  I have never cried over being happy, but I felt tears forming in my eyes, good tears, knowing that this was something that others thought would be a good idea as well.  

Who knows where this will lead.  I am so excited to undertake this project and to make it a reality one pouch at a time.  There really is no dream too big when it comes to helping people.  I feel compelled to give back and make sure that others know that they are thought of as well even if it may not be a good thing that they are going through at that time in their lives.  

So where did the idea come from?  Interestingly enough, James and I met in church and we attend mass regularly.  It was Ascension Thursday and we went to 7am mass at St. Francis.  I know I should have been paying more attention to what was actually going on, but my mind tends to wander to other places and boy was I glad it did that day.  It hit me that the best way for me to give back would be care packages.  After toying with many different ideas of names, we landed on Pouches of Positivity because it really embodies myself as a person and James as well as our mission for the project.  We talked with the clinic social worker and she took initiative to get the jump start on having this meeting today to get things moving.  

After a hug from the volunteer coordinator today I knew it was really happening.  I know I said it before, but I really can’t wait to see where this project goes.  One smile on a face is what makes it all worth it.  I can’t wait to embark on this journey and see where it goes.