SAN ANTONIO — The hospital. 

It’s a place that can seem intimidating and scary, especially for kids.

The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is trying to change the negative stigma that is often associated with hospital trips during #ChildrensHospitalsWeek.

This year is the third that Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) across the country have participated in the awareness week.

The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is the CMNH in one of 170-member hospitals in the country and the only one in the Alamo City.

From March 18-24, the hospital will be holding activities at the hospital in the hopes of shining a light on the importance of children’s hospitals and to show how donations help kids get the best care when needed.

“It helps the kids kind of get familiar with things that are going on in the hospital, get to kind of go through different stations to learn about it, in a non-threatening way,” explains Jessica Baker, a Certified Child Life Specialist at the hospital.  

Patients and their parents kicked off the week with a Teddy Bear Clinic that helped the kids become familiar with medical equipment and different procedures.  

“They get to choose their teddy bear, go through and bring them to different stations, get their vitals checked. They get to go to get their z-rays done; go to surgery if they so choose. They get to go see the nutritionist and get to learn about their teddy bear’s diet and be able to kind of see things through their teddy bear’s eyes.”

As a child life specialist, Jessica explains that it’s their goal to try and help normalize the hospital experience, while also educating children.

Jesse Reyna’s daughter Genesis is a patient at the hospital and the two attended the free event. Jesse acknowledged that “it’s unfortunate that we’re here,” but that they felt fortunate that Genesis was able to take part in the Teddy Bear Clinic.

“We’re having a great time and really appreciate so much all that the hospital does for these kids.”

Jessica Baker shared how “it can be kind of the unknown coming to the hospital and we just want to get awareness out on what we’re doing and how we’re trying to make it easier being in here.”

According to Genesis, that’s exactly what the fun-filled event did for her.

When asked how the day was going, she responded, “Really good. I really had high hopes and I just really… feel better.”

#ChildrensHospitalsWeek continues today with a ‘Build Your Own Hospital’ event from 2-3 p.m. and tomorrow with a ‘Game Day’ from 2-3 p.m.

Both activities will take place at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio at 333 N. Santa Rosa Street.

If you’re interested in donating to the Children’s Miracle Network, you can text CHWSA to 41444.

Of course, volunteers are always needed, so if you’re interested in volunteering head over to childrenshospitalsafoundation.org