All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine and the St. Petersburg Police Department joined together on Sept. 29 to kick-off a new mentor program for school age children with chronic illnesses.
The HERO program will connect hospital patients with St. Petersburg Police officers who will volunteer their time to be a mentor and friend that can listen to the child, encourage them and provide overall support.
"When we were approached about the program, we thought it was a great idea," said St. Petersburg Police Chief, Anthony Holloway. "These are kids that live in our city and we want to spend time with them, just to make sure they have something to do while they are in the hospital."
To prepare the officers for this experience, the hospital hosted a brief training for mentors, followed by a meet and greet event for the officers and mentees. The Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleaders also participated in the event.
"I am overwhelmed with the kindness of these officers who have stepped forward to be part of this program," said Alicia Riggs, ACH Patient Academic Services Coordinator, who came up with the idea for the program with support from her husband, who is a St. Petersburg Police Officer. "Some relationships between the officers and the patients are beginning today and others have been developing over the past several weeks.
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