Hi, my name is Andrea Shaner, and I’ve been a committee member at the Center for a couple of years now. When I first became acquainted with the Children’s Healing Center, the thing that most impressed me about all the kids was their strength. They demonstrate physical, mental and emotional strength in so many different ways, and it’s awe-inspiring to see.

the thing that most impressed me about all the kids was their strength

For me, the first thing that comes to mind when I think about strength is sports. I’m a sports fanatic, having spent the past 14 years coaching field hockey and other sports. When I saw that the Center includes a clean and safe active fitness area, it excited that ‘coach’ inside me, knowing all the benefits of sports and exercise for kids. It’s no secret that physical activity helps improve cardiovascular and bone health, improves balance, can boost children’s immune systems, and can even help with cognitive development.

Right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I was blessed to be able to bring in a few of my players to teach some basic field hockey skills to a few groups at the Center. Not only was it a cool experience to share the love of our sport, but it was such a great opportunity for our players to meet some of the kids and be able to learn what some of them have gone through. My team was so impressed with how quickly they picked up the sport and how, in just a couple of hours, their confidence in how to hold the stick and pass the ball grew. It meant a great deal to me to see my players connect with the kids and encourage them to share their strength in a new way. As we say, it was definitely Good.Clean.Fun!

I know there are a lot of gifted people in the Grand Rapids area who might be able to volunteer their skills to help keep these kids active and learning new things.  Could you use your passion to help strengthen muscles and minds, and show the kids at the Center your support? From my own experience, I can promise you that the kids aren’t the only people who benefit! I hope you’ll consider joining us at the Children’s Healing Center soon.