Helping Other Kids is Child's Play to Pinehurst Friends
By Deborah Salomon
Kids need toys more than adults need smartphones and lattes.
When caught up in a family crisis - like hospitalization - diversions can moderate a child's boredom and fear into a tolerable experience.
Or, in the words of 11-year-old Emory Bradley, "My mom told us (Emory and twin sister Madelaine) about Clara McLean House, how kids stay here when somebody's in the hospital. What do they have to play with?"
Clara McLean House, also known as Hospitality House, across from FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, offers affordable lodgings to persons and families who travel more than 30 miles for treatment, or to be with a patient.
Guests must be a referred by a clinical staff member within the FirstHealth service area. Frequently, children accompany these adults. This spectacular residence, which opened in April, is appointed like a resort hotel.
A children's dream playroom adjoins the kitchen. The library-computer area has shelves now filled with 100 books donated by the Bradley twins.
However, supplying books wasn't enough. Why not make this a project, moms Lesley Berkshire Bradley, Caroline Miller and Stephanie Hoover, all of Pinehurst, suggested.
Their children - Luke, Clarke, Barrett and Smythe Hoover, ages 5 to 11, and 9-year-old Cameron Miller plus the Bradley twins - were buddies from the pool and Optimist sports teams.
With the moms' guidance and a Power-Point presentation by Emory, they sold brownies, cookies and candy at baseball and football games, as well as Holly Arts Fair and Alive After 5. Madelaine manned the booth. Emory tracked finances.
Their banner read Kids Helping Kids Raising Money for Clara McLean House. In six sales they netted $419.
The money went further than expected, thanks to the generosity of Game Stop in Aberdeen, where they purchased four Nintendo DS systems and 13 games.
On a warm afternoon in late May, the -children trooped into the residence to -present their gift to director Rebecca Ainslie. After thanking them, she conducted a tour and told the story of benefactress Clara McLean, a businesswoman at McLean Shipping, the company that -developed container shipping.
McLean, a native of Hoke County, retired to the Pinehurst Hotel and lived to the age of 100. Some of her favorite possessions are displayed in a showcase.
The children were impressed with the baby grand piano, multiple wall-mounted flat screen TVs and, especially, the Healing Garden with its giant chess set and checker board, babbling brook, round stone dovecote and whimsical statuary.
Luke Hoover, forgetting the residents' -circumstances, said, "I wish this was my house. It's awesome."
To which Emory Bradley added: "I feel really good that we're helping families feel good."
Contact Deborah Salomon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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