News & Features

Early Childhood Major Takes Fontbonne Mission to Heart

 
Fontbonne University senior Kelly Lutz, an early childhood major, warmed the heads and the hearts of 150 young patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, Aug. 3. Through an advocacy project at Fontbonne, she raised nearly $2,000 to purchase hats for each girl currently admitted to the hospital for cancer treatment. The hospital invited her to meet some of the patients and help pass out the hats.

The project began in response to an assignment in her Advocacy in Professional Practice class. Lutz paired her love of children with the wares of a local St. Louis designer. She hosted a fundraising and awareness event, raising the money she would need to purchase 150 hats. Called Lollitops, the hats are designed by St. Louisan Kim Spaan, the mother of three children and a retail professional. Designed for young girls, the hats feature flowers and bright colors, fit snugly on the head and turn into a purse with the pull of a drawstring.

“The project was perfect for me,” Lutz said. “I love kids, and because I just lost someone to cancer, the cause was even more important.”

Lutz said her boyfriend’s aunt, to whom she was very close, recently lost her battle with cancer.
 
“It’s required, but the advocacy course is important for students to learn how to apply the mission of Fontbonne University ‘to educate students to think critically, to act ethically and to assume responsibility as citizens and leaders,’” said Sarah Huisman, assistant professor and director of Fontbonne’s early childhood program. “We can talk about action that we can take to better the lives of the children and families as they undergo treatment, but much more value is found in students going out and doing, taking action.”

Learn more about Fontbonne’s early childhood program.

Photo: Kelly Lutz (left) and Kim Spaan visit with a four-year-old patient at St. Louis Children's Hospital.