A giving heart

An opportunity exists to give a gift that needn’t cost a thing and would be much appreciated by sick children.

“Everyone’s got videos around that their children have outgrown or don’t watch anymore,” Federal Way Girl Scout Troop Leader Jill Johnson said. “Our troop is collecting them during this next month, and will donate them to local children's’ hospitals. They need them for their young patients.”

Johnson’s daughter Megan, now 10, first conceived of the idea of collecting videos three years ago, after being bored during a lengthy hospital stay at Emanuel Children’s Hospital in Portland.

Watching videos is one of the few things children can do while laying flat in bed, and there wasn’t much of a selection, her mother said. The videos also provide a distraction from the pain many of these children must endure, she said.

“There were no good movies for kids,” Megan said, “so I suggested to my mom that we get movies for the hospital, and a lot of the troops around Portland thought that was a really good idea. It’s kids helping each other.”

About a year ago, the Johnsons moved to Federal Way, where Megan already has made a strong impression.

“Megan is a real go-getter. If she sets her mind on something, it’s going to happen,” said Suzy Gleason, the office manager at Nautilus Elementary. “She’s a wonderful little girl with an open heart.”

The 20 girl school troops of Federal Way’s Lakota Service unit – about 200 Scouts – started collecting videos last week, and will do so until mid- December.

All of the Federal Way school district’s elementary schools have collection boxes, as well as three area grocery stores. On Dec. 8, Scouts will be at SeaTac Mall all day collecting videos.

The videos can’t be copies – they must be original tapes – but the boxes don’t need to have covers, Johnson said. Any G, PG or PG-13 tapes are acceptable, since the hospitals have patients as old as 18.

The Scouts hope to collect 1,000 tapes. They will be given to Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Mary Bridge in Tacoma and Shriners in Portland, Johnson said.

“Many of these hospitalized children are up late at night because of pain, and there isn’t much suitable for children on TV in the evening,” Johnson said. “The last thing that parents should have to worry about is trying to find a video for their sick child in the middle of the night.”

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