Once a year, I send an emailed reflection to everyone in our Streetlight community. We offer thanks to our volunteers, our patients, our team at UF Health, and the individuals in the community that enable Streetlight support through their valuable giving. Not everyone likes reading a newsletter, so I wrote our Year-End Brief inspired by a familiar holiday classic.
‘Twas the night before Streetlight when all through the house,
Not a laptop was whirring, not even a mouse;
The Xbox 360’s were placed on the shelves with great care,
In hopes that Ethernet connection, soon would be there;
But because there was no Streetlight (‘twas 2005),
The teens lacked online game play—they had no Xbox Live;
The patients were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Discord danced in their heads;
With Dr. Graham-Pole in his white coat and Rebecca Brown in her clerical robe,
They conceived of a program for teenagers, the best on the globe!
Could they have known, what would be 17 years later?
Streetlight at UF, House of the Gator.
To say the tale’s done, would just be untrue,
Because I have not yet told you, about 2022;
For those faithful followers who know my style,
The “Brief” is never short, this will take awhile;
So allow me to guide you through our meaningful year,
In hopes by the end, you’ll all still be here;
We give thanks to our friends at Climb for Cancer and Riqui V’s CHOMP,
For enabling the care we give in the Swamp,
We kicked off the year with a big gift of tech,
Kaitlin’s Continuing Smile gave us two KP Karts on deck;
Lily’s Warrior Project supplied Minecraft and games,
And Johnnie from IT helped us stick to our aims,
Of making sure patients have a way to connect,
To play online together, with games they select,
For some time, we have wanted Virtual Reality,
Thanks to David Kirkendall, it’s an actuality!
Anna Swygert led the Discord, our virtual chat group,
A place to share “GIFs,” which are pictures that can loop,
She organized care packages based on patient interest,
Gardening, Pride—you won’t find these on Pinterest!
The Streetlight GO Team organized gaming tournaments,
Mario Kart, Multiverse, other virtual firmaments,
We hosted veteran players, as well as beginners,
And gave 3D printed prizes to all of the winners,
Patients play in our tournaments while admitted or home,
For Streetlight’s never far, wherever you roam,
Since Covid, we can now take patients out of their room,
Those can be quite confining, as one might assume;
Our staff member, Wellington, invites all who are able,
To exit their room, and play on the pool table;
There are seasons of Streetlight, that change through the year,
Spring brought Cystic Fibrosis Awareness, and some Great Strides Walk cheer!
In May and August we welcomed some great volunteers,
If their names rhymed, I would list them all here;
Now let’s fast forward to the month of September,
For Sickle Cell Awareness, we always remember;
Philip led us to paint the 34th Street Wall,
And SC Captain, Jordan, made packages for all,
He interviewed the patients and made a plan of attack,
He filled the gift bags with resource cards, hats, and a Welch’s fruit snack,
He wrote a personalized note, and tied them up with a bow,
And through September, all SC patients had a gift bag in tow;
All the while in the background, Data Scientist, Drew,
Published an Outcomes study, and a Social Network Analysis too!
He’s been running the numbers, managing our REDCap,
Writing the papers, and filling our head gap,
In Fall we hired Amy Hunt for our leadership unit,
She is cut out for Streetlight, and we always knew it!
Let’s now turn our attention, to our friends ending chemo,
As I reflect on these people, I’ll get a bit emo;
We brought Kiki to see the ShandsCair helicopter,
She sat in the cockpit, you all should have watched her!
With Cody we celebrated by planting some flowers,
In the Children’s Garden, despite the rain showers;
Thank you, Amy Wegner, for creating this space,
Where now all our patients, can enjoy a natural place;
We’ll remember one patient, a Fortnite loving friend,
For whom we threw a party, when his treatment could end;
With pizza and cake, and many Streetlight friends near,
We celebrated the moment, and his friendship so dear;
He taught us to live simply, with joy and levity,
Important lessons as we acknowledge life’s brevity.
Our landscape of illness urges us to find meaning,
For in each shared connection there is something worth gleaning,
From each person we meet, there is something to learn,
Something to love, a gift we can return,
At some point in life, we will need help from another,
And we know burdens are lighter when we carry each other,
So thanks to all of you, for carrying Streetlight,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a lit night!
Thank you for reading!
Love and Cheers,
If you find yourself without your cap,
As you are settling down for your long winter’s nap,
You are welcome to order a Streetlight beanie,
They are one size fits all, for all heads large and teenie.
Streetlight is funded entirely by grants and private donations. If you would like to support the Streetlight program, you can learn more by clicking the button below.