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Child Life month feature: CCLS Ana Vega

March is Child Life Month and marks the 40th anniversary of the Child Life Program at Geisinger. The Chiuld Life team members at Geisinger continues to grow as the need for services become more evident. The team’s focus remains on procedural preparation, education and play as building blocks to help children and adolescents master their hospital experience. Donations to Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger help the Child Life team to have the resources to perform their important work.

Today we learn more about Ceritfied Child Life Specialist in the Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital PICU Anna Vega.

Hometown: Ojai, California

College: California State University, Northridge

Family: Parents- Rose and Ignacio Vega, two older brothers- Gabriel and Ignacio Jr., sister-in-law Maria. 4-year-old twin niece/nephew, Isabel and Jaxson.

Favorite food: “Anything homemade by my Mom; specifically, her Enchiladas and Meatloaf!”

Favorite superhero:  “Healthcare workers! (Cheesy, but true!)”

Favorite book: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Favorite movie: Dirty Dancing and My Best Friend’s Wedding

Favorite game: Rummikub

Favorite TV show:  “Anything “Reality” TV; Survivor, Bachelor/Bachelorette, American Idol, Amazing Race, The Voice, etc…”

When you aren’t working, how do you like to spend your time?
“Watching reality TV, painting, puzzles.”

What is the last text you sent? (completely out of context, if you can share) 
“Sounds good!”

What is your favorite part of what you do? 
“Being part of milestones, big or small!”

Tell me a unique story that was very touching for you personally while performing your job?
“As a practicum student, I was able to sit at the bedside with patients providing normalization through play or offering social interaction. I was working with a teenage boy, whom the staff described as shy, quiet, and non-social. Every session I was at the hospital I would consistently offer services to this patient. When I offered distraction items or 1:1 interaction, he would always politely decline. One day I just went in with a game in hand and told him we were going to play. He was quiet and I lead the conversation. But little by little, after many interactions he began to open up, talk and engage in play. One day I came in and was told by the Child Life Specialist, that this patient came to the playroom and asked if I was at the hospital and was initiating a bedside visit. I was also told that staff had started to see this patient attend Teen Lounge and interact with staff more. It was huge moment for me in confirming that Child Life is where I wanted to be. Fun fact, years later I became a CCLS at the hospital I did my practicum at and was specifically a Teen CCLS and this patient became one of my long-term chronic patients!”