Karen Ballard, director of chaplaincy services, understands the importance of raising awareness about the diverse population we serve at the hospital.
“By providing educational opportunities about cultures and religions that we encounter at Akron Children’s, our staff can better assist the patients we serve, “she said. “They have the chance to become educated and gain the skills they need to provide hospitality in ways appropriate to each culture.”
Spiritual Care Week at the Akron campus highlighted aspects of inclusion and hospitality. Throughout the week, multiple lunch and learn events were held. Each provided educational opportunities on the Amish, Muslim, Buddhist, Muslim, and Orthodox Jewish religions and cultures. Informational sheets and recordings of the sessions are available by contacting Chaplaincy Services.
In addition to the learning opportunities, chaplaincy services staff installed a “Peace Pole” in Perkins Square Park on the Akron campus. The words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” are inscribed on all sides of the pole in the top languages spoken by our patients: Spanish, Nepali, Karen, Burmese, Arabic, Farsi, English and American Sign Language. There is also a braille section transcription.
Karen and her staff in chaplaincy services work hard to create an atmosphere of belonging at Akron Children’s.
“For families who speak a different language, we strive to create a feeling of inclusion,” she said. “We hope that when they read something written in their language, they have a sense of belonging.”
The Peace Pole is made possible through the Peace Pole Project. The project’s mission is to have Peace Poles on as many continents as possible. Each pole spreads the message that all nations and faiths are linked, by striving toward that common goal of creating a better world. In addition to their uplifting message, 10 trees are planted in Africa for every Peace Pole purchased.
Last week, Akron Children’s became part of an international group that has tens of thousands of poles in over 180 countries worldwide.
“We want to make sure that no matter what, all children and their families feel welcome here,” Karen said. “We all inhabit the earth, therefore, we must all work together and bring the message to life.”