August 1, 2016
It was just like any other prom – a cafeteria was blanketed in foliage and turned into a jungle expedition; there was a DJ, dancing, carnival games and chaperones. But this prom took place in a hospital, not a high school. And the kids were both past and present patients of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, California.
Behind the scenes, DPR employees built and painted wooden divider screens for carnival booths, while more team members transformed the first floor of the hospital into a lush jungle-scape. Other DPR volunteers ran ring toss and softball games during the prom itself, energized by how excited the kids were to enjoy themselves and not be “patients” for just one day.
The prom is just one example of the DPR project team’s high level of community involvement, as they build the nation’s most technologically advanced, family-friendly and environmentally sustainable hospital for infants, children and expectant mothers. Scheduled for opening in 2017, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford expansion will nearly double the size of the current facility, adding 521,000 sq. ft. and allowing the hospital to meet increased demand for pediatric and obstetric care as the Bay Area population grows.
Inspired by their client’s mission to align people and resources to provide extraordinary patient and family-centered care, as well as DPR’s vision to be integral and indispensable to the communities in which it operates, the DPR project team has shown their commitment to help the children at the hospital in any way that they can.
Ranging from building balsa wood models, visiting the hospital school, dressing up and painting faces for a Halloween “Trick or Treat Trail,” donating to the Summer Scamper fundraising walk benefiting Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, to visiting with Packard Children’s “Patient Heroes,” the team has found that their volunteer efforts offer them the unique opportunity to interact and open two-way communication with the end users that the hospital will ultimately be impacting – patients, parents, teachers, nurses, doctors and hospital staff. They are able to see firsthand the day-to-day impact of the rooms they’re building, answer questions about construction from curious kids and integrate themselves into the hospital community.
“We fill a unique void of being able to interact with the children on a different level by talking to them about how the new main building of the hospital will affect them. When we see how impactful the new facility is going to be on their lives, it encourages us to have perspective and realize why we are putting in so much hard work on-site to make this happen,” said DPR’s Maggie Grubb.
In addition to helping lift the spirits of Packard Children’s patients, the project team’s efforts have also built a strong sense of community, both with their hospital neighbors and their own colleagues. DPR team members will often run into teachers and staff they’ve met through volunteer activities at a nearby coffee stand and be able to say hi and catch up about progress.
“Not only are we helping patients of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, but we found a really positive way to spend time with each other and these truly inspirational kids. It helps us feel good about what we’re working on,” said DPR’s Mike Kenney. “The challenges we face daily really aren’t that bad when you put into perspective how tough these little kids are. It is so rewarding to spend 2-3 hours with people who genuinely appreciate you.”
So that prom wasn’t an ordinary prom, these kids aren’t ordinary kids, and this is no ordinary project team. Sometimes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And sometimes, ordinary people can do extraordinary things.