Patients at Genesis Medical Center may have pain, may be anxious about an upcoming procedure or a diagnosis, or may be feeling alone and isolated.

All of those emotions can be a barrier to timely healing, according to health studies.

Patients at the Genesis hospitals in Davenport have young partners who are doing what they can to reduce those barriers to healing.

Patients may receive a hand-drawn artwork of a dog, which prompts a patient to remember their own beloved pet.

Patients may receive a message of encouragement as they face a heart surgery or cancer treatments.

On several inpatient units at Genesis Medical Center, Davenport, hospital patients are receiving artwork created by local elementary school students. The art is delivered to patients by high school and college-aged Genesis volunteers. This program is part of a new initiative called Art from the Heart. This community collaboration began as an idea to improve both the patient and volunteer experience at Genesis.

Nancy Adams, Education Outreach Facilitator, and Allyson Miller, Volunteer Services Coordinator, walked away from an all-employee presentation last fall inspired by a speaker from Disney to take action. Modeled after a similar program in Akron, Ohio, the two Genesis employees decided that they too could create “Moments of Wow” for patients.

The two pitched the idea to art teachers in the Davenport Community School District and the Genesis Patient Experience Team. Genesis Corporate Communications and marketing developed the logo. A donation from the Genesis Foundation, made possible by late benefactor JoAnn Waddell, helped fund materials.

Packets of student art came in from the local schools and Genesis volunteers received training. A pilot program began on the West Campus last October in Neuro/Oncology, Infusion and Rehab. The program was so well-received by patients and volunteers it is now on the selected units of the East Campus, as well.

Art from the Heart allows students to practice random acts of kindness through art, not knowing who will be the recipient.

“The art is impactful in so many ways. These pictures are big bundles of love that show caring and compassion, which directly relates to Genesis mission,’’ Adams said.

Another goal of Art from the Heart is to introduce young students to health care careers.

“The feedback from the student volunteers has been nothing but enthusiasm,’’ Miller explained. “They love getting to be on the inpatient units interacting with staff and families. We’re hoping that we are planting seeds of success for the students to start thinking about a career in health care.

“We also know the art is helping patients heal and giving them something to look forward to. The experience gives them interaction they might otherwise lack during a hospital stay.’’

Volunteers sort the art (topics include animals/love/nature/Get Well) and frame it. When volunteers come in for their shift, they pick out a supply of each type and put it on the Art from the Heart cart. Wearing their blue volunteer vests, students lovingly deliver the art to patients who have agreed to the visit. The back of each piece of art indicates the grade and school from which the art was created.

Art from the Heart is a community collaboration that resonates in caring. Art students and Genesis volunteers are having positive interactions with our patients creating Moments of Wow for all involved.

Melinda "Missy" Gowey, is the Executive Director of Genesis Philanthropy, a regional wellness foundation.