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Child Life

Child Life specialists

Coming to our medical center, whether for a stay, a day surgery or ongoing treatment at one of our specialty clinics can feel overwhelming and even scary to our young patients. Children and teens of all ages can feel stressed or worried during their visit. The unfamiliar environment, loss of control, fear of pain and lack of routine are among the most common anxieties young patients feel during a health care encounter. The Child Life specialists at Cook Children's are here to help.

Making Magic

Child Life specialists work with kids and families to make their visit to the medical center easier and more comfortable. We offer your child and your family an opportunity to express and work through any fears and concerns you may have. We'll also provide an explanation about what's going to happen during your visit and work with parents, brothers and sisters and other family members who may be involved in your child's daily care.

As a part of our commitment to family-centered care, Child Life specialists work with your child's health care team to advocate for and ensure your child's and your family's needs are addressed in the most nurturing atmosphere possible.

The Child Life program at Cook Children's offers a variety of services, all designed to make your experience at Cook Children's the best it can be. Our services include educating, preparing and supporting your child through tests and procedures, as well as coping with any life challenges you and your child may face.

Child Life services

Our Child Life specialists and activity coordinators also provide meaningful play and recreational opportunities for patients and siblings visiting the hospital to promote growth, development and some much needed fun. Best of all, the services are available for free. Child Life services include, but aren't limited to:

  • Activities and toys for families to engage in while they are in their hospital room
  • Developmentally appropriate teaching about diagnosis, treatments and life changes
  • Opportunities to desensitize and explore real medical equipment through play (medical play)
  • Preparation for medical exams, procedures and surgeries
  • Assistance with coping strategies, distraction and/or support during stressful events
  • Support to siblings and other family members visiting a patient
  • Celebration of birthdays, milestones, holidays and essential life experiences
  • A visit to a child's school after life-altering injury or chronic illness to help classmates understand and make it easier for the patient when returning to classes
  • Developmental assessments and referrals to community resources
  • End-of-life support to patient and family as well as bereavement support for family members
  • Child Life Zone is a treatment-free fun zone where kids, teens and family members can go for games, art, music, reading and relaxing
  • CARPE (Creative Artist in Residence Programme) connects patients to the art of healing through creative expression
  • Provide information about hospital amenities

The importance of play

Play is serious business at Cook Children's for patients of all ages, as well as brothers and sisters—and parents too. Child Life staff provide play opportunities to:

  • Improve mood and relieve stress
  • Encourage understanding and self-expression
  • Promote normal development
  • Increase social interactions
  • Gain control over the environment
  • Have fun

Play can bring comfort and joy to a child facing the difficult challenges of a hospital stay, illness or injury. Through play, children express fear and anxiety, share their misconceptions, learn and practice skills and roles and explore solutions to problems.

Play opportunities are available in the playrooms found on each inpatient unit, or can be brought to the bedside of children and young people who aren't able to leave their rooms. If your child is an inpatient at Cook Children's, contact your Child Life specialist or activity coordinator via our GetWell Network service.

Many of our specialty clinics also have Child Life specialists available, and all Cook Children's patients visiting the medical center are welcome in the Child Life Zone as long they have their doctor's approval.

Volunteering

Volunteers play a crucial role in supporting the Child Life program within the medical center's inpatient and specialty clinic areas. Child Life volunteers engage in appropriate developmental play and activities with patients at the bedside, inpatient playrooms and specialty clinic waiting areas. Child Life volunteers also assist with the important role of toy cleaning in order to eliminate the chance of infection. Child Life volunteers partner with our Child Life staff to help make a stay at Cook Children's more comfortable for our patients and their siblings and families.

Are you interested in becoming a Child Life volunteer? Learn more about volunteering and submit an application.

Meet our Child Life team

Cook Children's boasts one of the largest child life departments in the country, with over fifty staff members, including certified Child Life specialists, activity coordinators, board certified music therapists, artists, educators, clowns and more. Child Life is a highly valued program at Cook Children's and our Child Life specialists serve on many hospital-wide committees, task forces and councils, ensuring that there's always a focus on our patients and what's best for them.

Child Life inpatient unit staff

Angie Bradley – Certified Child Life Specialist, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: Trauma, Surgery, Critical Care.
  • Involvement: Camp El Tesoro de la Vida, Camp Morning Star, PICU Remembrance Ceremony, Ancillary Infection Control Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: Sesame Street's "The Monster at the End of this Book starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover" by Jon Stone.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love that the staff at Cook Children's work hard to meet the needs of the family as a whole. There is a wonderful team approach that is supportive and open to new ideas. In the midst of dealing with some really difficult situations, families and patients also have the opportunity to try new things, have fun, and just be kids!

Brittany Gardner – Certified Child Life Specialist, 5 Main Inpatient Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: General Medicine, Pulmonology & Infectious Disease.
  • Involvement: Camp Broncho, Camp Kindred, Patient and Family Education and Health Literacy Council, One Voice Committee, Cystic Fibrosis Family Advisory Council, Meditech Documentation liason.
  • Favorite childhood book: "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love Cook Children's because staff truly cares about their patients.

Carol Lowery – Certified Child Life Specialist, Evening Coverage

  • Unit/Area main populations: Hospital Wide Inpatient Coverage.
  • Favorite childhood memory: My family's summer beach vacations to Port Aransas, Texas. I'm sure that is where I developed my life-long love of the ocean.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: The huge variety of children, teenagers and adults that I get to interact with. I love to hear about their lives outside of the hospital - the things that they love to do. I feel very fortunate to have a part in helping them heal so that they can get back to those things that they love.

Heather Bayers – Child Life Specialist, 5 Main Inpatient Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: General Medicine, Pulmonology & Infectious Disease.
  • Involvement: Camp Kindred, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Cystic Fibrosis Family Advisory Council, PIVE , Cystic Fibrosis Quality Improvement.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Guess How Much I Love You" by Sam McBratney.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: We are a family and we genuinely love taking care of the kids. I love the smiles they give me.

Julia Smeltzer – Certified Child Life Specialist, 3 Pavilion Inpatient Unit and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: Cardiology, Renal, Gastroenterology/Motility.
  • Involvement: Camp Moss, Camp ID, Youth Advisory Council Coordinator, Dog Handler for Sit Stay PLAY Program, Prom Committee, Ancillary Infection Control Committee, Family Advisory Council Leadership Committee, PICU/CICU Remembrance Ceremony Planning Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: The Babysitter's Club series.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: The family atmosphere and the importance of staff working together for one goal to provide this for not only patients and families, but staff as well. Everyone has the same goal which is to fulfill our promise.

Katie Manquero – Certified Child Life Specialist, 4 Main Inpatient Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: General Medical/Surgical & Trauma
  • Involvement: Camp Courage, Sibling Program.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Amelia Bedelia" by Peggy Parish.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love the passionate team I work with on the 4th floor.

Kelsey Walker – Certified Child Life Specialist, 3 Main Inpatient Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: General Medical/Surgical & Endocrine.
  • Involvement: Camp Courage, Sibling Program.
  • Favorite childhood book: "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love the promise that Cook Children's stand on. I am excited to be a part of a team that goes to great lengths to improve the health of every child in the region. The teamwork among multidisciplinary staff members, families, and patients is inevitable. I love being a part of Cook Children's Promise and team!

Laura Sonefeld – Certified Child Life Specialist, 5 North Tower Inpatient Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: Hematology & Oncology.
  • Involvement: Camp Ohana, Camp Sanguinity Preschool Day, Sibling Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: The welcoming and friendly environment! I am truly proud to say I am an employee at Cook Children's!

Lauren Driscoll – Certified Child Life Specialist, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: School Age Sibling Bereavement Support Group, NICU Palliative Care Committee, NICU Developmental Care Committee.
  • Favorite childhood memory:I have too many memories to pick one. These are a few: visits to Sarasota, making homemade biscuits with my grandmother, singing along to cassettes in the car with my dad, going to the park with my dad, and fishing for crawfish in the ditches in front of my grandparents' house (that's normal in Louisiana).
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love the teamwork of our unit and the celebrating patient milestones with our families!

Lisa Pool – Certified Child Life Specialist, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: Sibling Grief Support, NICU Developmental Care Committee, NICU Palliative Care Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: "My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gannet.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: When siblings of NICU patients are comfortable and excited about coming to the hospital because they have so much fun playing and participating in organized activities/crafts in the Child Life Zone, as well as, providing NICU parents opportunities to celebrate their new baby.

Rachel Meharg – Certified Child Life Specialist, Evening Coverage

  • Unit/Area main populations: Hospital-wide Inpatient Coverage.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom."
  • What I love about Cook Children's: The values and care practiced by the employees.

Shannon Dier – Certified Child Life Specialist, 5 North Tower and Bone Marrow Transplant Units

  • Unit/Area main populations: Hematology & Oncology, MIBG.
  • Involvement: Sibling Committee, Sickle Cell Support Group, Hematology/Oncology Family Advisory Council, Camp Jubliee, Camp Courage.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Amelia Bedelia" by Peggy Parish.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: When patients tell me it feels like they are in a castle .

Terri Bales – Certified Child Life Specialist, 4 Main Inpatient Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: General Medical/Surgical & Trauma.
  • Involvement: Autism Task Force, Rapid Readmission Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: Helping all the children and families that come here.

Zoe Growald – Certified Child Life Specialist, 4 Pavilion/Epilepsy Monitoring Inpatient Unit

  • Unit/Area main populations: General Neuro Med/Surgical & Epilepsy.
  • Involvement: Epilepsy support Group, Epilepsy Day Camp, Camp Neuron.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Cruising in my Barbie jeep around the cul-de-sac and 'filling up' my gas tank at the fire hydrant.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love the people I work with, and the awesome kids I get to spend my days with!

Ashton Martinez – Activity Coordinator, 4 Pavilion & Epilepsy Monitoring Unit & 4 North Tower

  • Unit/Area main populations: General Neuro Med/Surgical & Epilepsy; Neuro-Rehab, Tracheostomy Patients.

Daisy Guadiana - Activity Coordinator, Weekends

  • Unit/Area main populations: Hospital Wide Inpatient Units
  • Favorite childhood book: "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein, I am also a big fan of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: What I most love about Cook Children's is the culture, how people work together, communicate, and collaborate to provide the best care possible.

Megan Hodges Cook - Activity Coordinator, Weekends

  • Unit/Area main populations: Hospital Wide Inpatient Coverage
  • Favorite childhood book: Any Curious George and Shel Silverstein poetry books.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: Serving kids and families with a team of people who are dedicated to making a positive impact.

Child Life Emergency Department staff

Alicia Basmajian – Certified Child Life Specialist, Emergency Department

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Skiing with my family in Angel Fire, New Mexico.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: Being surrounded by people who are both skilled and passionate in what they do, and having the wonderful, caring support from all of my Cook Children's family.

Amy Johnson – Certified Child Life Specialist, Emergency Department

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: Hospital Wide Pain Committee.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Spending two weeks every summer with my grandparents. My grandparents spoiled all of us and loved every minute!
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love everything about Cook Children's! I have been blessed to work here for 13 years. I love the amazing things we have to offer kids and families. I wouldn't want to work anywhere else!

Ashley Pagenkopf – Certified Child Life Specialist, Emergency Department

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech is my favorite childhood book. It reminds me of my favorite memory—spending the summers at my grandparents' house in the country writing plays and telling stories with my cousins.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: Cook Children's cares about people. People come first above anything else. Even through all the growth and change that I have seen in 15 years, Cook Children's still cares about people's stories and their hearts. That's a big deal.

Dani Dillard – Certified Child Life Specialist, Emergency Department

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: Safe Kids of Tarrant County Coalition/Child Passenger Safety Technician.
  • Favorite childhood book: "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein
  • What I love about Cook Children's: My favorite thing about Cook Children's is that "It's All about the Kids." I love that we always keep the focus on allowing children to be children despite the challenges they may face while under our care.

Debbie Wheeler – Certified Child Life Specialist, Emergency Department

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: Child Life Council Certification Committee, Loving Touch Infant Massage Group, Child Passenger Safety Technician/SafeKids Worldwide.
  • Favorite childhood book: "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love the dedication of our staff at Cook Children's which is consistently focused on children, adolescents and their families. It is an organization that strives for positive change and looks to improve and grow on a daily basis.

Jennifer Denton – Certified Child Life Specialist, PRN Emergency Department

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Olivia" by Ian Falconer.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: We have the best patients and families!

Lauren Young – Certified Child Life Specialist, Emergency Department

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: Camp Broncho, Sibling Committee, Camp Courage.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Harry the Dirty Dog"
  • What I love about Cook Children's: There is a strong dedication of teamwork to provide the highest quality of care to patients and families.

Child Life specialty clinic staff

Alana Skinner – Certified Child Life Specialist, Radiology

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: CLC Certification Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Peasant Pig" by Richard Scarry because my dad would change the characters names to me and my sisters.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love working at Cook Children's because of our Promise and how caring all the staff is. I love coming to work every day and helping children and families through challenging situations.

Amber Lafferty – Certified Child Life Specialist, Transitional Care Unit/Rehabilitation Care Inpatient Units

  • Unit/Area main populations: Inpatient Neuro-Rehab, Tracheostomy Patients.
  • Involvement:Camp STAR, Camp TLC, Camp Strong, Camp Morning Star, STAR Teen Support Group, Prom Committee, Student Leadership Committee, Child Life Council Web and Online Network Advisory Committee, Practicum Coordinator.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Ice skating with my family on our neighborhood lake in the winter.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: The child-friendly environment and the yogurt shop.

Amy Collins – Certified Child Life Specialist, Dodson Specialty Clinics

  • Unit/Area main populations: Outpatient Cardiac and Orthopedics.
  • Involvement: Camp Courage, SOS: Spotlight on Scoliosis Support Group, Hearts & Souls Support Group, Student Leadership Committee, Sibling Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: Working alongside amazing people that all have a heart for the children and families we serve. So many people have a passion for the work they do!

Brenda Sonnier – Certified Child Life Specialist – Dodson Specialty Clinics

  • Unit/Area main populations: Gastroenterology/Motility and Endocrinology Clinics.
  • Involvement: Camp Oasis, Camp Aurora; Diabetes Teen Retreat; IBD Support group, GUTS support group; Diabetes Teen Group.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Story of Poppyseed" by Barbi Sargent
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love how everyone in the medical center works together to provide the best care for patients and families.

Denee Price – Certified Child Life Specialist, Southlake Urgent Care Center and Specialty Clinics

  • Unit/Area main populations: Cardiology, Endocrine, Urgent Care, Orthopedics, Ear Nose & Throat Clinics.
  • Involvement: Sibling Committee.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Fishing with my dad on the boat. We would get up at 5am, get bait, get breakfast, and then stay out on the water till 1 or 2pm. I loved it, it was some amazing one on one time with my Dad, which was very rare in my house!!
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love that working at Cook Children's feels like one big family. I love how child friendly and family focused our hospital is.

Elise Rowsell – Certified Child Life Specialist, Dodson Specialty Clinics

  • Unit/Area main populations: Infectious Disease and Pulmonary Clinics.
  • Involvement: Camp ID, Camp Hope, FOTO Support Group, Camp Tecumseh.
  • Favorite childhood book: "The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: The ability of all the staff here to make a hard and scary place a much more happy and fun place for kids to come!

Erin Reid – Certified Child Life Specialist, Radiology

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: Patient Experience Committee, Perioperative Autism Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" by Dr. Seuss.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: Everyone is always happy.

Kat Davitt – Certified Child Life Specialist, Dodson Specialty Clinics

  • Unit/Area main populations: Neurology, Rheumatology, Palliative Care, Cranio-facial.
  • Involvement: Camp MDA, Camp Courage, Sibling Program, SibShops, Epilepsy Support Group, Neuro Teen Group, Dog Handler for Sit Stay PLAY Program.
  • Favorite childhood book: Trixie Belden series by Joan Campbell
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love Cook Children's because they put things in the right order: kids and families first! This is seen in the available resources, the values of the organization, and in daily practice.

Kate Garrett – Certified Child Life Specialist, Dodson Specialty Clinics

  • Unit/Area main populations: Hematology and Oncology Clinics.
  • Involvement: Camp NOW, Camp Ailihpomeh.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Rock climbing on the weekends with my family in Mineral Wells.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love Cook Children's because it creates a positive, happy and inviting atmosphere for everyone who walks through their doors.

Mimi Schultz – Certified Child Life Specialist, Abilene Specialty Clinics

  • Unit/Area main populations: Hematology/Oncology, Pulmonary, Endocrine, Cardiology, Genetics and CARE Team.
  • Involvement: Child Life Council Education and Training Committee
  • Favorite childhood memory: Getting the role of Snow White in the 2nd grade play.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: The team approach to providing healthcare for children.

Natalie Shanklin – Certified Child Life Specialist, Outpatient Surgery

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: Camp Kindred, Perioperative Autism Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: The value we put on patient and family satisfaction. I believe our staff works hard to ensure our families have a positive experience. I also love how our patients have the opportunity to attend camp because I have seen the positive impact it can have on patients and families.

Sarah Lang – Certified Child Life Specialist, Dodson Specialty Clinics

  • Unit/Area main populations: Pediatric Surgery, Nephrology, and Dialysis Clinics.
  • Involvement: Camp Reynal, Young Adult Camp, YAC-PAC Co-Coordinator, Transition Committee, Prom Committee, ONEVOICE Committee.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Family reunions at Lake Kiowa – scavenger hunts, going out on the lake, playing in the treehouse.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love and appreciate the wonderful "team" attitude that Cook Children's has. We are all working for one purpose, and that is for our amazing patients and families! I love getting to work with such an incredible staff, and the fact that we have a frozen yogurt shop doesn't hurt either!

Vickie Knight - Certified Child Life Specialist, Dodson Specialty Clinics

  • Unit/Area main populations: Infusion Clinic, Hematology & Oncology, Gastroenterology, Varied.
  • Favorite childhood book: "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" and "The Monster at the End of this Book starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover."
  • What I love about Cook Children's: How family centered and child friendly everything is. Everywhere you go the focus is clearly the well-being of the children and their families. It is such a friendly environment that you immediately feel comfortable when you walk in the door. Staff and volunteers are always smiling, friendly, and willing to help with whatever they can.

Whitney Brosey – Certified Child Life Specialist, Special Procedures Area

  • Unit/Area main populations: Gastroenterology, Neurology, Oncology, Varied.
  • Involvement: Zero Harm Safety Coach, Perioperative Autism Committee, One Voice Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Love You Forever."
  • What I love about Cook Children's: Everything! I love my job! I love the patients, families and staff!

Child Life Zone and arts staff

Abel Diaz – Associate Broadcast Studio Producer, Child Life Zone

  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love being able to work with kids in the studio and put a smile on their faces every day.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Goosebumps" by R.L. Stine

Carri Ann Wantuchowicz – Creative Arts Program Coordinator

  • Favorite childhood book: Beatrix Potter – "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck," etc.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: We have a very caring environment and are committed to supporting our families. Cook Children's provides me with daily opportunities to help others and do work that is so much more than just a job.

Diana Gibson – Artist in Residence, Creative Arts Program

  • Involvement: North Texas Art Therapy Association, American Art Therapy Association.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: The creative and playful energy that everyone uses to approach their job here. I can feel the passion my coworkers have for their jobs and it makes a huge difference in the level of care we provide to our patients and their families.

Shea Ingram – Board Certified Music Therapist

  • Favorite childhood book: "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love how all staff work together to help the children and families find joy and hope out of their circumstances.

Sonny Burgess – Director of Clinical Performing Arts

  • Favorite childhood book: "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White
  • What I love about Cook Children's: There are so many things I love about Cook Children's, but I guess what really excites me more than anything is to see a patient smile.

Child life coordinators, educators and adminstration

Audra Trussell – Child Life Program Coordinator

  • Involvement: Child Life Safety Liaison.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Time spent at my grandparents out in the country and playing outside, feeding the cows, fishing, hauling hay.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love the people of Cook Children's and our common passion for serving the patients and families.

Jill Koss – Certified Child Life Specialist, Director of Family Support Services

  • Involvement: Camp Sanguinity, Ethics Committee, Pain Management Committee, Patient Safety Committee, Family Advisory Council, Readmission Reduction Work group, Schwartz Rounds Planning Committee, Child Life Council Board of Directors, CLC - International Collaboration committee, CLC – Certification Appeals committee, Transition Program task force.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Prince Bertram in the Bed" by Arnold Lobel
  • What I love about Cook Children's: We all have the same guiding principle, to serve and meet the health care needs of the children, youth, and families of this area.

Jillian Mitchell – Community Program Coordinator

  • Involvement: Camp Aurora, Camp Star.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love helping children succeed and helping them to feel empowered in their environment. Working at Cook Children's allows me to use my creativity to continue that passion. I really love working for an organization which embraces a collaborative effort in family centered care.

Katie Campbell – Certified Child Life Specialist, Manager of Child Life

  • Involvement: Coordinator of Camps for Kids, Camp Sanguinity, Camp Morning Star, Camp Broncho.
  • Favorite childhood book: "The Napping House" by Audrey Wood.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: The strong sense of community that the hospital provides patients, families, and employees.

Kizzy Marco – Certified Child Life Specialist, Child Life Zone Program Coordinator

  • Involvement: Dog Handler for Sit Stay PLAY Program, Child Life Council Education and Training Committee.
  • Favorite childhood book: "The Boxcar Children" by Gertrude Chandler Warner.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love that there is an organization-wide commitment to giving all patients and families the best possible experience.

Rayne Delgado – Child Life Zone Program Coordinator

  • Unit/Area main populations: Child Life Zone..
  • Favorite childhood memory: Traveling the country with my softball team.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love the team of people I work with and the values that Cook Children's promotes.

Linsey Hammon – Certified Child Life Specialist, Child Life Educator

  • Involvement: Student Committee, DFW Child Life Workshop, Professional Development Council, Texas Association of Child Life Professionals (TACLP) Outreach Committee Chair.
  • Favorite childhood book: "The King Who Rained"
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I have the chance to visit other children's hospitals from time to time and it always feels so good to come home to Cook Children's. I love that Cook Children's is committed to providing excellent health care and creating a calm and friendly atmosphere. There's no place like this place.

Cara Bozarth – Certified Child Life Specialist, Child Life Educator

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: Camp Sanguinity.
  • Favorite childhood book: "Fredrick" by Leo Lionni
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love the friendly warm atmosphere at Cook Children's. You can feel it when you walk in the door. All staff truly care about the children and it is an incredibly positive place to be part of the team!

Janis Smith – Certified Child Life Specialist, Child Life Manager

  • Unit/Area main populations: Varied.
  • Involvement: Camp Morning Star, School Nurse Advisory Council.
  • Favorite childhood book: "The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover" by Jon Stone.
  • What I love about Cook Children's: I love what Cook Children's represents. This organization represents value, compassion, respect, passion, and desire to meet the need of each and every patient and family. I love how the organization values its employees and strives for excellence in care, safety, and collaboration. I love that Cook Children's is dedicated to making a difference and impacting lives not only within our hospital, but also within our community. I am blessed to be able to work for such an amazing organization.

Child Life specialists are educated in child and human development; they have at least a bachelor's degree, and in many cases, a master's. They complete a semester of practicum, a 480-hour highly selective clinical internship, and must demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge to pass a certification exam. Once certified, they're required to maintain certification by participating in professional development and continuing education. The knowledge gained on the way to becoming a certified Child Life specialist is used to build therapeutic relationships that help patients and their families balance daily life and the health care experience.

Contact us

Our Child Life specialists are available for you. To contact a Child Life specialist, call 682-885-4048.