A Simple Act of Kindness
Flanked by two toddlers and with her hands cleaning out the innards of a Halloween pumpkin, Angie Kopach was in her happy zone at Good Shepherd’s pediatric inpatient unit. What started out three years ago out as a “20 Acts of Kindness” outreach project for her church’s 20th anniversary has become an essential part of her life as a donor and a volunteer.
“This ended up being my ministry,” says Angie with a look of sheer joy in her eyes
as the tot next to her cautiously handled a bit of the pumpkin’s gooey fibers. “It keeps me real.”
Angie and her husband Chris first became acquainted with the inpatient unit when they delivered Christmas presents during a Christmas in July celebration on the unit. She and Chris were so inspired by the Good Shepherd staff and the young patients that they knew the seeds had been sown for a more lasting relationship.
“This unit just became a life of its own,” says Angie. “The staff is amazing, just amazing. They’re such special people working with such special kids, kids that just want to get back to being normal.”
Since that first visit, Angie and Chris, along with others from LifeChurch in Bethlehem, have returned many times to the unit as volunteers. The Kopachs also have become generous donors and won over many hearts through such things as providing funding for animals from the Lehigh Valley Zoo to visit the unit.
But the Kopachs wanted to do more. They consulted with Michele Shara, a recreational therapist, who confided that the outdoor play area could benefit from some more activities.
The Kopachs didn’t have to be asked twice. Along with a donation from LifeChurch and friends, the Kopachs raised enough money for the purchase of felt blackboards that adhere to the fence for children of all ages to play games with Velcro-like items that stick. Michele explained that these games have therapeutic value because it challenges her young patients to stand and use their core body strength as well as some of their fine motor skills.
“They’re so awesome with the kids,” said Michele. “They see each child for all the things they can do, not what they can’t.”
Donations also provided for the purchase of colored wall decals and flags, window paints, foam mats, three umbrellas with stands for outside play, items for the pediatric Feeding Program, and a metal rack that was needed for storage.
Angie, who is a cancer survivor, says she and Chris know what it means to need help; so on a more personal level, she feels very deeply for the children and their families who come to Good Shepherd and rejoices in the opportunity to help others, just as she was once helped. And, she is grateful for the continued love and support of her own church family who have joined in giving their time and money.
“People love to give because they know that I love to be here,” says Angie. “This hospital was founded on faith and there’s faith in healing. And every once in a while, you really end up making a difference.”