YouthWorks Restaurant Takeovers

As part of the annual YouthWorks Pageants, students from area high schools will be taking over area restaurants beginning Jan. 22 as they compete for titles in this year’s pageants. The candidates will be waiting tables to raise awareness and money for children’s healthcare needs in our community at Virginia Mason Memorial and Children’s Village.

Schools competing this year are: Eisenhower, Davis, West Valley, Naches, Sunnyside, Wapato and East Valley!

The schedule for the restaurant takeovers is:

Jan. 22: Mr. Davis at Provisions, 5- 8 p.m.
Feb. 1:  Mr. West Valley at Zesta Cucina, 5-8 p.m.
Feb. 5:  Mr. Naches at Zesta Cucina, 5-8 p.m.
Feb. 8:  Mr. Ike at Zesta Cucina, 5-8 p.m.
Feb. 12: Mr. Sunnyside at the Sunnyside McDonalds, 4:30-7 p.m.

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“Kits” Give A Note Of Love

Thanks to the outreach program at Together Church, North Star Lodge received 2,000 “cancer care kits” for patients. Each church member put together at least 1 kit with the message “You are loved” in each one. The kits contain tissues, lotion, and lip balm. We are very grateful!

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A Story To Share

My name is Gloria Ponce and I want to share my story with you! Having diabetes for 19 years, I am well aware of its devastating health impacts. Since my diagnosis, I had been scared of the possibilities of losing a limb, becoming blind or needing dialysis treatment, among many other possible health risks. I was frustrated and scared. Then everything changed!

Last June, I met with a diabetic educator from Virginia Mason Memorial who suggested I try a plant-based diet.* I was very skeptical of a diet that would include fruits because they are so high in sugar and they are to be avoided by diabetics; but she told me it would be ok. My life changed dramatically!

Since incorporating more plant-based foods into my eating plan, my glucose readings went from an average of 314 to 107! My insulin intake has decreased dramatically and continues to decrease as I lose more weight. My energy level is incredibly high, and I feel great. I have not felt this amazing in a very long time.

I get emotional just thinking about how this newly-found control of my diabetes has given me renewed hope that I can do something to improve the quality of my life. I may even be able to enjoy my grandchildren (all 7 of them) and my great-grandchild a bit longer. Thank you for guiding me through this change!

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Veterans Helping Other Veterans

Virginia Mason Memorial is giving special care to veterans who are at the end of their lives with two programs designed to honor those in Compass Care. Matthew McCay, Virginia Mason Memorial chaplain and veterans advocate, says the hospital is one of only four hospice programs in the state to be a top level four We Honor Veterans program community partner. McCay, a U.S. Army officer and combat veteran, says those who work in the We Honor Veterans program are specially trained in care and in helping veterans gain valuable end-of-life benefits. The other program is called Vet to Vet. If you are a veteran, you can help others by getting involved in the Vet to Vet program … veterans helping other veterans go through the end of life by understanding what they’ve been through.

If you are a veteran and want to help, call (509) 575-8035.

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The Right Professional With The Right Expertise

“As a pediatric physical therapist, I knew my baby, Thomas, wasn’t keeping up with the expected developmental milestones. At 16 months old, we had his hearing tested. He has severe hearing loss in his “good ear,” and they were not able to turn the machine up loud enough to get a response in his other ear. Put simply, our sweet Thomas was deaf. We wanted to give him every opportunity to engage with the people and environment that he lives in. Tom is supported by a collaborative team that includes providers at Seattle Children’s and his “home team” at Children’s Village. He receives specialized education from a certified educator of the deaf with Children’s Village Early Intervention program to help him learn and communicate using sign language as well as supporting our whole family to engage with his new deaf identity. He also has specialized speech therapy working on his utilization of technology, (such as hearing aids, etc.) and speech. It has now been a year of receiving services, and Children’s Village has helped him get caught up so he can communicate in sign language at an age-appropriate level. He continues to learn and grow, and we couldn’t be more proud of him or more thankful for all of the awesome support we have.”
– Katie Buck, Thomas’s mom

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November 2018 Sibshop

On November 8, 2018, Children’s Village’s Sibshop was bustling with children ages six to twelve, who were all excited about the commencement of the holiday season.  Sibshops is an event for the brothers and sisters of the children with special needs who come through the Village’s doors.  During this event, the children are given a chance to talk with other sibs, sharing their feelings, and also have fun!


The children started out coloring and conversing with the mentors at their table.  Mentors are teenage graduates of Sibshops who come back as volunteers.  The mentors showed great interest in what the children were telling them, whether it be showing off their knowledge of the alphabet or feeling sad that their coloring page didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to.  The mentors would encourage the latter and help them fix their pages if asked.

During the activity, the children made wreaths with leaves on them, telling what the child was thankful for.  Many interesting and creative ones were shared; Experiences, memes, wi-fi, broccoli, and bubbles, to name a few.  Some children needed some help finishing their wreaths in time, so their mentors helped them.


After dinner, the staff held a meeting for the children to share about their siblings with special needs.  Many of the children shared about their siblings; when they did, they shared about their siblings’ needs, but they also shared about their siblings’ favorite foods, favorite television shows, and other facts about them not pertaining to their siblings needs.  One girl, when talking about her sister with Down syndrome, mostly shared about how funny and amazing her sister was.

This experience demonstrated not only the hearts of the staff but also the hearts of the siblings of children with special needs.  The staff showed enthusiasm and investment in the children’s feelings at the beginning of the Sibshop in talking with them as well as patience with the children during the activities in helping them with their wreaths.  For the children’s parts, they showed kindness and love in describing their siblings.  They acknowledged that though their siblings had special needs, they were still their siblings and still children who liked many of the same things that they did.

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Specially designed media cart donated!

A grateful thank you to Casey Jones of Docent Design LLC for donating a media cart for Virginia Mason Memorial’s Pediatric Unit.  This specially designed and manufactured media cart will be used in conjunction with the SimBaby manikin to provide valuable education and training for nursing, ancillary, and medical staff.

The media cart will enhance training by providing all the tools in one place for the pediatrics team to provide ongoing training for the medical team to enhance learning and relearning of best practices for best outcomes for pediatric patients.

Thank you Casey Jones and Docent Design for manufacturing and donating this innovative, state of art media cart!

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My name is Gloria Ponce…

Hello!  My name is Gloria Ponce and I want to share my story with you!

At age 38 (a long time ago), I got a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Attempts to get this illness under control progressed from trying to do it with diet and exercise, to oral medications to eventually becoming insulin dependent, approximately 19 years ago.

I am well aware of the devastating health impacts of being a diabetic.  Since my diagnosis, I had been scared of the possibilities of losing a limb, becoming blind or needing dialysis treatment, among many other possible health risks.  So I tried, I really tried.

Living with diabetes had been a rollercoaster for me. I tried the famous no-carb diets, diabetic diets, even fasting, at times.  It is sad to confess but there were also long periods of becoming oblivious to the fact that I was a diabetic:  no medicine, no shots, and no exercise.  I was not even testing to see what my sugar levels were, I got my mind on denial and my body suffered the consequences.

The amount of insulin I was taking lately was so high, it was very difficult for me to lose weight, and the more weight I gained, the more insulin I needed until I became insulin resistant. I was trapped, totally trapped, in a vicious cycle and my health continued to decline.

I was frustrated and scared. Then, everything changed!

On June 20, 2018, I met with a diabetic educator who suggested I try a plant-based diet.  I was very skeptical of a diet that would include fruits because they are so high in sugar and they were to be avoided by diabetics, but she told me it would be ok.

On my way home that afternoon, I stopped by the store and got all kinds of vegetables and fruits.  I was deprived of having fruits for so long; my mouth was watering while shopping for all these previously forbidden foods.

Now, this is how my life changed dramatically!

Before starting my plant-based diet, my glucose readings were averaging 314, with the highest reading reaching a dangerous fasting reading of 490.  My sugar readings at this time average 107!

Not only has my glucose level dropped to almost that of a non-diabetic but my insulin intake decreased from 151 units per day to a mere 40.  And it continues to decrease as I lose more weight.  Oh, yes, I forgot to mention, I lost 13 pounds in three weeks, my energy level is incredibly high, and I feel great. I have not felt this amazing in a very long, long time.

I get emotional just thinking about how this new found control of my diabetes has given me renewed hope that I can do something to improve the quality of my life.  I may even be able to enjoy my grandchildren (all 7 of them) and my great-grandchild a bit longer.


*Please visit with your physician before making any significant dietary changes.*

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Where would we be without Children’s Village?

“We learned about Children’s Village when Shealyn was one month old.  She was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome, a spectrum disorder involving many medical issues.

When we left the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, all of the Children’s Village’s services were set in place for us.  A dietitian helped with weight checks, nutrition, and calculated calories.  A speech and feeding therapist helped with the feeding difficulties.  We also had an occupational therapist to help with low muscle tone and reaching development milestones.

As things progressed we’ve had different challenges along the way.  Shealyn developed scoliosis and had to be in a brace for a little over a year.  When she turned 2, she started speech therapy and hippo therapy, which is horseback riding, to help strengthen her core muscles.  We did this for a little over a year and her spine has straightened out.  She is stronger and brace-free now.

I can’t imagine where we would be today without Children’s Village and its services.  With a new diagnosis and the grieving process that goes with that, there is no way that we could’ve managed to get everything set up and to obtain all the care that was needed.  Without their help, Shea may not be doing as well as she is right now.  Our family coordinator took care of everything and helped set up all of the services and specialists we needed.  We’re very fortunate to have a place like Children’s Village here in Yakima.

In our personal journey with PWS we have been very lucky; it is a spectrum and we have been on the higher functioning side so far.  We constantly push Shealyn and treat her no different than any other child. Even with all these things going on with Shealyn, everything is really good right now and we are on cruise control, in our new way of normal. We do have lots of hope.  Hope for a medication that will help with hunger.  Hope that someday she can attend college if she would like to.  Hope that someday she may be able to live independently and have a job.”

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Diabetes Prevention Program gets CDC recognition

The Diabetes Prevention Program at Virginia Mason Memorial, with funding provided through The Memorial Foundation, has recently been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as meeting rigorous standards set by the CDC.  Virginia Mason Memorial’s program is the 12th out of 80 in the state of Washington to achieve this status. This is particularly important for those we serve in the Yakima Valley, where 1 in 3 residents is pre-diabetic, and 1 in 11 have diabetes.

Roger Yockey, and his wife, Marilyn, both 78, have both taken the class, and have shed about 168 pounds between them. Roger has successfully moved out of the prediabetes zone!

For Roger, having his wife as his partner in the program made all the difference. “It really helps if you have a partner. Marilyn and I tracked what we ate with a focus on calories and fat. That’s our guide. And in the group sessions, you’re talking to other people and they’re telling you what their experiences have been.”

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