The Footprints: Buddy & Support Program is a student-run, 501(c) nonprofit volunteering and community service organization benefiting UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and the local Gainesville community. We have members volunteering everyday of the week from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. in the Pediatric Immunocompromised inpatient and Infusion outpatient units! We are open to all majors and take pride in our members' commitment to uplifting the lives of the kiddos!
In the unit
By engaging kids in one-on-one play, we embody our motto to let “kids just be kids” during treatment and their illness journeys within the hospital. From creative arts and crafts projects and legendary Mario Kart tournaments (just ask some of our members, we take these games very seriously) to playing pretend and so much more, the hospital walls are no bounds for the amount of fun we can have!
Recently, the playroom has opened back up and we are excited to bring a new dimension to our engagement with patients, whether it is an individual or group session. We are also introducing special events in the playroom, including bingo, STEM activities, movies, arts and crafts, and video game tournaments.
out of the unit
Outside of our time playing with the kiddos on the the unit, one of our primary goals is to create a close-knit atmosphere within our membership. Through social events, a Footprints Mentorship Program, general body meetings, and other events, we are able to foster deep, life-long connections. We don't consider ourselves just an organization, but a family too!
Our Footprints family extends our service outside of the hospital and into the community
that support these kiddos on a larger scale. We have multiple partners with local, regional, and national community organizations who we dedicate time to supporting through community service and outreach.
Throughout the year, we host various events such as the Pediatric Illness Forum and Diversity & Inclusion centered workshops to further the understanding of prevalent issues and experiences within the patient population and community who we work for, with, and alongside.