Maggie Walkoff, United Hebrew Congregation

Maggie Walkoff

Maggie has a love for arts and crafts. The idea of using art to help children feel better was very important to her. “Even before my bat mitzvah, I knew I wanted to do something with art and kids,” she said.  

Daughter of Julie and Neil Walkoff of Town & Country, Maggie’s project was to collect items that would benefit two programs of Children’s Hospital, the Art Therapy and Healthy Kids Express.

Several months before Maggie’s bat mitzvah, Children’s Hospital provided her a wish list of its most important needs for these programs. Through donations from friends, family and the United Hebrew members, she was able to collect over 3,000 items, including crayons, markets, glue, and scissors.  In addition to these items, Maggie also raised $516.

When asked about the support she received from the collection, Maggie said, “I was happy to see so many people donate so many items to a good cause.”  Her mother said that the collection ended with a thrilling delivery day to Children’s Hospital.

A student at Parkway West Middle School, Maggie was able to tour the Healthy Kids Express vans and stock the shelves for the art therapy program.  “After delivering the items, I was proud I had completed my mitzvah project, and I was glad I had chosen the one I did,” she said.  “It was fun to meet the generous doctors and nurses that work on the vans.”   

The Healthy Kids Express vans will use the items that Maggie collected for the children waiting to be screened or as a give-a-way for a “brave” doctor visit.  “I am glad Children’s Hospital has a program like Healthy Kids Express that allows kids to visit a doctor,” Maggie added.

Art therapy uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well being of individuals of all ages.  Children and teens that participate in art therapy can find ways to express themselves that may not be possible with other activities.  The program helps patients to communicate with symbols and expressions other than traditional verbal modes through the use of art media.

Healthy Kids Express, a site-based program, has seen more than 100,000 children since it began.  It was developed to bring healthcare to children from 1-18 years of age in St Louis city, surrounding counties and the Metro East.  Healthy Kids Express provides screenings for hearing and vision, anemia, lead, dental, asthma and scoliosis.