Streetlight Annual Brief 2021

Every December, our Director reflects on the year and shares a reflection on all the Streetlight community has experienced. Here is this year’s reflection from Emily Marchi.

This is the season where we reflect on all of the ways we’ve grown over the last year as a Streetlight community. I enjoy this opportunity to connect with the people who care about our program and our patients, thus I send an annual “brief” of highlights to our Streetlight supporters. I thought that I might do something a little different this year, so here is our Streetlight 2021 brief, told as a poem. If you can’t find some fun around the holidays, when can you?

I think the best way
to share of our year
is to write a sonnet
of our moments so dear.

If you know Shakespeare
you’ll have seen this before
but I’m breaking the rules
of that I am sure.

Let’s begin in January
of twenty-twenty one,
we were yearning for volunteers
but who could find one?

We could not close shop,
there were patients to know,
So we transitioned our support
via “Streetlight GO.”

Streetlight “Gaming and Online Team”
or “GO” for short,
began in 2018,
playing games for sport.

Thanks to our guy, Drew,
and his special friend Will,
we started an online community
based on companionship and skill.

With help from Climb for Cancer
And Riqui V’s CHOMP,
we purchased systems and games
bringing some fun to the Swamp.

Picture of volunteer, Kat Tansky, in front of a Streelight Gaming cart.

Before Covid-19,
we held teen lounge in a room,
though once we went virtual,
we avoided Zoom.

Through Discord we host
movies, Minecraft, and art,
we connect through voice chat,
with a phone or gaming cart.

But the gaming carts needed
some PlayStation subscriptions,
because a system with no new games
can cause a conniption.
We needed some angels,
like Mr. McCray,
and then Lily’s Warrior Project
provided a way.
In addition to gaming,
we offer chats on other interests,
We host a Winter Creativity Challenge.
Go open your Pinterest!

collage of discord events including the winter games, mariokart tournament, minecraft survival challenges, and super smash bros tournament

Our innovative Anna,
has a green thumb,
she posted an idea in the Discord
and did the gardeners come!

Anna began the
Streetlight Garden Gang.
She mails cuttings
of pothos, and ylang-ylang.

The patients receive,
the cuttings in the mail,
with care tips and a peat disc,
so they can’t fail.

We know it can be lonely
when in the hospital or at home
so through Discord there is always
a friend wherever you roam.

And while we gave online support
we continued to yearn,
we hoped for an in-person Streetlight
when volunteers could return.

But alas there was hope
the vaccine had arrived!
Our thriving in-patient programming
could now be revived.

We gathered our team
to come up with a plan,
to give personalized support
to our Streetlight clan.

We started with diabetes
collecting stickers, bandanas, and more.
We made Type 1 Welcome Jars
including resources galore.

Next came Sickle Cell
Awareness Month in Fall,
We painted a mural
and gave gift packages to all.

Montana became
our cherished friend,
so we partied it up
when chemo came to an end!

Celebrating milestones
defines our reputation.
We were honored to share Waffle House
for Max’s graduation.

But not everyday
is streamers and cheers
for friendship is forged
through both laughter and tears.

Not many can know
how hard it can be
to live a year in a hospital
with no end to see.

To wonder, “how long,
must one endure pain?”
trapped in a hospital room,
it feels inhumane.

What can we do
to best carry our friends,
sharing the burden
and making amends?
We must enter the darkness
and sit in the suffering,
because we believe friendship
can aid in stress-buffering.
Resilience is found
in unlikely places,
those who live with disease,
show evident traces.
We learn from our patients
and we’re taking note,
“It’s easy to lose who we are”
our dear Becca wrote,
“But when you come in,
you remind us who we are,”
like talking about Marvel
or playing guitar.

We see the importance
of peer support,
but we must collect data,
if we will ever export.

Drs. Puig, Hebert,
Lebeau, and Swank,
along with Data Scientist, Drew,
coming from Emory’s rank,

are studying Streetlight,
producing research studies,
they are talented researchers,
and now our best buddies.

We must provide the best
adolescent palliative care,
and understand how to carry,
those in despair.

We will not stop researching
and applying for grants,
to support our patients
(CF, cancer, transplants).

Thank you to all who
make sure we stay here,
who donate the gifts,
that see us through the year.

We appreciate
your generous giving,
you keep our mission
active and living.

We are grateful for our leadership,
at UF Health,
to Dr. Schatz and Pediatrics,
your guidance is wealth.

Thank you to all of the parents
of our current team,
you’ve raised great people,
who’ve helped continue our dream.
Shout out to my alumni,
who served in Streetlight years before,
you pioneered this support,
and opened the door.

 If you find yourself chilly,
this holiday season,
and want to support Streetlight,
but are needing a reason,

then feel free to order
a Streetlight sweatshirt here,
thank you to volunteer, Vik,
for designing this gear!

Sonnets are usually
fourteen lines long,
we are at line 175,
I wish I was wrong.

Thanks for reading this “Brief,”
outside our usual parameter,
and for your grace in following,
my inconsistent iambic pentameter.

Wishing you holidays,
full of hope, love, and cheer,
thank you for supporting,
Streetlight this year!


Emily Marchi

Streetlight is funded entirely by grants and private donations.  If you would like to support the Streetlight program, you can learn more here.