Florida club gives health and hope

‘Pediatric Hal’  helps nurses learn on a simulator.

By Cindy Dashnaw

The Bradenton Kiwanis Club in Florida never raises a dime. But thanks to a well-maintained foundation, it gives away hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to organizations that serve children. This year, that generosity includes the State College of Florida’s nursing program.

A club grant of more than US$27,000 allowed SCF to purchase an incredibly lifelike mannequin that reacts nearly the same as a real 5-year-old child. Pediatric Hal, as the simulator is called, has blood pressure, heart rhythms, bowel sounds, pupils that dilate, an arm that gives “blood” and much more.

“Normally, nursing students can follow along with hospital clinical rotations to watch nurses treat real patients, but those opportunities have been limited because of the pandemic,” says Lori Stephens Tomlinson, coordinator of grants for Institutional Development at the State College of Florida Foundation. “The simulator creates a pretty realistic scenario where students can actually work on ‘patients’ in a safe setting.”

Ed Nicholas was the club’s charitable committee chair when Tomlinson submitted the grant application. In the 1990s, the club owned a trailer park that it sold to the residents, creating what has become an $11 million foundation that funds several youth-serving projects and organizations each year.

“We target children in our charitable giving, and we like to be creative sometimes — like with a simulator that’s geared toward children. The funds went to a nonprofit, but it wasn’t your typical grant in that we usually give money to agencies that provide direct services to children,” Nicholas says.

Tomlinson adds that the club has supported other pediatric areas of the university.

“We’re producing well-qualified nurses who stay here in Manatee County, so it’s a good investment for Kiwanis,” she says. “I’ve been a big fan of the Bradenton Kiwanis Club for years.”

This story originally appeared in the June/July 2021 issue of Kiwanis magazine.

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