New HA School WALK Program, a Win-Win

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By Randi Corey, National Director of Special Events and Volunteer Support

At the 2012 Veteran WALK Chair’s meeting Hydrocephalus Association introduced its new School WALK program.  The program was the brainchild of Long Island WALK Co-Chair, Mia Padron.   The event Mia coordinated last fall raised over $4,000 with 114 kids participating in their own “mini-WALK” after school.  Most importantly, all of the school’s 4th graders learned all about hydrocephalus through educational sessions. A shunt manufacturer’s representative accompanied Mia for the education portions of the program, bringing visual aids to share with the class – a shunt model, brain anatomy models, etc. Then Mia’s son, Tyler, answered his classmates’ questions about his condition and treatment.

There are certain criteria to conduct an HA School WALK.  First, you need a child with hydrocephalus in elementary school who is willing to share his/her condition with his/her classmates. (If your child doesn’t like anyone to know about his / her hydrocephalus this program is NOT a good fit.)  Second, the parent of the child with hydrocephalus also needs to be willing to speak to students and to teach them about hydrocephalus.  If possible, asking a representative from one of the shunt manufacturing companies to accompany the parent for the education part of the program (providing shunt models, brain models, etc.) can be very helpful.

A School WALK is obviously a much smaller event than the typical HA WALK.  It can be planned and completed in approximately 6 weeks. School WALK Kits are available for parents interested in starting and Chairing a School WALK in their community.  If you would like more information about starting a School WALK or if you would like a School WALK Kit mailed to you please contact HA’s National Director of Special Events, Randi Corey, at (919) 518-8283.  Mia Padron, the volunteer who started the first School WALK in Long Island is also willing to answer questions and provide additional information.  Mia can be contacted at (631) 255-4756 or at Padron117@aol.com.  We hope that the School WALK Program is one that spreads throughout the U.S. Not only will it raise additional money for HA programs and research, but it will also help educate a whole generation about hydrocephalus, and that is definitely a “win-win!”

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