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A Child’s View

Under a net brimming with stuffed animals, three giggling little girls had a serious mission.

Generally, the whiteboard in Marissa Munster’s vividly pink bedroom was used for playing school or writing messages. But earlier this year the 10-year-old and her two friends decided to do something a little different.

They’re not sure exactly how it happened, but they started writing about Sanford Health and what it meant to them. Brainstorming on the playground, playing with the pillows on the striped bedspread, they came up with something they had to share.

“We started doing it and it seemed like a great idea. We know we love Sanford,” says Marissa, standing next to her friends, 11-year-old Claire Sorenson and 10-year-old Sage Bridenstine.

“We thought people should know what Sanford is all about and the good things they do to take care of you,” Claire adds.

A place they love

All three have had positive experiences with Sanford Health. All of the girls were born at Sanford Hospital. Marissa’s mother, Michelle works in physical therapy at Sanford. And Marissa has spent the most time at Sanford, getting treatment for her asthma in Sanford clinics and sometimes the emergency room.

“She knows all about the way that they care for children,” Michelle says. “She really likes her doctors and everyone she’s met at the hospital.”

Starting with the letter S, the girls starting writing an acronym, coming up with a saying for each letter of Sanford. The project was harder than they thought it would be at first, but once they got started, there was no stopping, they said.

Reaching their goal

The three girls worked on the white board over a couple of weeks, writing down their ideas, sometimes wiping off the words that just didn’t seem to work. Sometimes, Claire, a neighborhood friend, would stop by to share ideas.

Sage and Marissa, friends from school, worked together on their own too. Marissa would even bring a post-it note to school with a small pencil that she would keep in her pocket to jot down ideas during lunch or recess.

“We’d talk about it at school and then bring it back to the white board later,” Marissa said. “Some of the letters were pretty hard to do.”

Their message when they got it all finished:

S = Saves lives
A = Always helpful
N = Never failing
F = Forever Caring
O = Outstanding Service
R = Respectful staff
D = Daring Doctors

Sharing their vision

Marissa’s mom watched them work on the project, impressed that they could come up with such good ideas without the prompting of any adults. The message that they told were the things that Michelle finds important as an employee of Sanford Health, she said.

“I was surprised by what they were doing,” she says, watching the girls play together in her daughter’s room. “I really tried to stay out of it.”

After they got it all finished, Michelle e-mailed their work to marketing, thinking Sanford might be interested in what the kids did. The girls got an immediate response thanking them for their idea.

The three friends have had fun with the attention they’ve gotten for their work. Marissa and Sage shared an e-mail from Sanford Health with their class and told their teacher and classmates about the project.

“It was fun to share our ideas,” Marissa says. “We got to tell people why Sanford is great!”

Posted Date: January 2012