For months, the 24/7 news cycle was filled with stories about people being critically ill or even dying from COVID-19. It was a tough topic to broach for most parents, but one that was unavoidable. A global pandemic was something this generation has never seen. That rang true for four Long Beach Polytechnic High School students Lauryn Hong, Ella Matlock, Sofia Migliazza and Erin Rogers.
These four young leaders took this sentiment to heart and created a COVID-19 coloring book to explain the global health crisis to children in the community using kid-friendly vocabulary and characters.
The four students are part of the Program of Additional Curricular Experiences (PACE) at Long Beach Poly. PACE is a nationally recognized and highly rigorous college-prep program offering extensive honors and AP courses. The coloring book was part of their capstone project for their freshman economics class – with the goal of educating young kids on the extreme issues of today while giving back to their community.
To do this, they launched a website, BetheChangeColoringCo.com, where the coloring books are sold. With each purchase of the $5 coloring book, consumers have the option to donate 40 percent of their purchase to a nonprofit of their choice. One of the nonprofits is the Memorial Medical Center Foundation, which is the philanthropic organization that supports MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.
Recently, the group donated nearly $3,000 and 90 colorings book for patients at Miller Children’s & Women’s. Rita Goshert, director of the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program accepted the donation on behalf of the hospital.
The goal of the Child Life Program is to normalize the hospital experience and help make it less scary for children of all ages.
“This has been a very difficult time for our patients,” says Goshert. “Normally, we help our patients cope with hospitalization by taking them to our playrooms or inviting their siblings, friends and extended family to visit. But due to COVID-19, we’ve had to restrict our visitors to just one parent at a time, and our playrooms have been closed. Many of our young patients have a hard time understanding why this is happening, and this coloring book is a great tool for my team to help explain these unusual circumstances.”
The group has published a second book, “Stand Up for Your-Shell-ves,” which tackles teaching children about racism and discrimination with the help of the character Sam the Snail. To purchase one of their coloring books or learn more about the nonprofit organizations they support, visit BetheChangeColoringCo.com or follow them on Instagram @bethechangecoloringco.