Chana Bushee first heard of Project Sunshine about a month into her tenure at Yeshiva University: “I thought the organization looked incredible and I wanted to get involved,” she recalls. Five minutes into the introductory event, she found herself thinking, “now I know what I’m doing for the next 4 years of college.”
“I was hooked, I’m pretty sure I attended every volunteer event after that first meeting,” says Chana, who is currently in medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Chana says being a college volunteer with Project Sunshine helped her settle in to her new surroundings. “Attending Project Sunshine events every month was huge for my transition into college. I had structure and something to look forward to where I knew I made a difference,” she says.
Chana soon found herself a regular fixture of Project Sunshine at Yeshiva, and eventually became the leader of the college chapter. Chana’s presence was felt by hospital staff and patients alike. She remembers working on a craft with a patient one week- when she returned a week later, the child-life specialist told her the young patient had been asking for his friend with the curly hair and the yellow t-shirt. Chana remembers this as the moment she truly understood the impact Project Sunshine volunteers can have, and that many times, their presence reframes the entire experience of hospitalization for the patient.
“As a medical student who wants to be a pediatrician, understanding medicine from the physician’s point of view is critical. Beyond that, to be able see the hospital experience from the eyes of a child or a parent gives me a deeper insight into patient care. Those perspectives are so invaluable to me- understanding there are so many more aspects to the care of the patient will make me a better pediatrician in the future.”
Project Sunshine helped Chana materialize her dreams of becoming a pediatrician. “I discovered my passion for the medical field in high school but hadn’t volunteered with children in a medical setting prior to Project Sunshine. It was awesome to have that experience with pediatric patients.”
Chana is currently making major strides toward her professional goals as a student at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She’s hoping to continue her involvement with Project Sunshine while in medical school and get back to being the curly hair and yellow t-shirt volunteer once again.