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Loyola Nursing Students Deliver Gifts and Toys to Covenant House New Orleans 

By Loyola University on Mon, 11/01/2021 - 10:48

(New Orleans, La. – October 27, 2021) Loyola University New Orleans sophomore nursing students recently delivered maternity care gift bags and trauma-informed toys to mothers and families at Covenant House, a shelter for youth in crisis in New Orleans aimed at helping clients to develop life skills and get clients back on their feet.

“At any given time, there are on average 100 pregnant clients of Covenant House. They often come to Covenant House without any supplies for either themselves or their new baby,” said Michelle “Shelli” Collins, dean of the College of Nursing and Health at Loyola. “Loyola nursing students put together gift bags stocked with things they may need immediately before, during and after child birth. They also assembled and delivered toys for residents' children, many of whom who have experienced trauma.” 

The peripartum gift bags and trauma-informed toys were purchased with two $1,000 Thacher Community grants from the American College of Nurse-Midwives aimed at supporting small yet high-impact community-based projects that promote excellence in health care for women, infants, and families worldwide, especially those that show innovative means to meet community needs. 

Preference for this year's grants were given to projects that addressed community needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those that targeted racial inequity or health disparities; care for people with physical or mental illness and disability; or care of populations in low-resource settings. 

Loyola nursing students assembled and delivered maternity care bags stocked with items a brand-new mother might need: A robe, toiletries, snacks for labor, Chapstick, hair ties, and socks. They included items for baby, like blankets, bibs, outfits, first storybook, socks, and other essentials.

Many of the clients who come to Covenant House are victims of sex trafficking. Some have children with them upon arrival who have also been traumatized. Trauma-informed toys teach life skills to help mediate the trauma and engage children in activities that teach them skills that they need for life.

The items for children included puppets of various ethnicities and races, a dollhouse with multiracial dolls, a play supermarket with play food, play kitchen with pots and pans, play nurse's office with instruments, toys to help learn the alphabet and counting, play costumes that represent various professions, tools to learn to tie a shoe, and various play housekeeping supplies, such as a vacuum and broom.

Service to others is a key philosophy in the Loyola undergraduate pre-licensure nursing program launched this year in partnership with Ochsner Health System.  At Loyola, undergraduate nurses receive a four-year liberal arts education, while focusing their studies on nursing and fulfilling licensure education requirements through guaranteed clinical placements at Ochsner or one of their affiliates.

“A Loyola education is focused on care and education of the whole person – mind, body and spirit,” said Dean Collins. “Service to others is at the core of what we teach our students.”