CGI ONETeam Cares - Comer Child Life Program

This summer, employees at the Chamberlain Group moved to stay healthy and to support kids.

The Chamberlain Group (CGI), a Duchossois Group, Inc. company headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, created the ONETeam Moves walking challenge and 5K walk/run to encourage health and fitness. In partnership with CGI’s ONETeam Cares good corporate citizen program, employees supported the Child Life and Family Education Program at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital.

More than 1,000 employees from all North American locations of CGI, a global leader in access solutions and products, tracked their steps throughout the month of June. Each step from an employee meant a donation to Child Life, a program that supports UChicago Medicine patients and their families by providing educational, developmental, and therapeutic services to infants, children, and teens.

Comer Children’s Child Life specialists focus on each child’s psychological and developmental needs in order to help him or her manage pain, anxiety, and stress while undergoing treatment, or to help them cope with the illness of a parent or sibling.

“Our program is unique because our Child Life specialists are master’s prepared with expertise in child development and family-centered care that they bring to caring for children,” said Jennie Ott, director of the Child Life and Family Education Program. “We are partners with families in the care of their children.”

The CGI ONETeam Moves and ONETeam Cares programs, together with employee donations and a matching gift from The Duchossois Family Foundation, resulted in a $30,000 donation to Child Life. With this gift, the Child Life program was able to purchase Spellbound Cards, a therapeutic tool to help children cope with medical treatment using augmented reality technology.

JoAnna Sohovich, CGI’s chief executive officer, said the ONETeam Moves and ONETeam Cares programs are important initiatives to the organization.

“We not only recognize our responsibility to our community, we also support causes committed to benefiting the development, health, and wellbeing of children and their families,” Sohovich said. 

Comer Children’s patient Taylor Merriwether understands first-hand how the program supports children and families.

She came to appreciate how the program caters to the social and emotional needs of children, which has made a significant impact in her life and others. Now, Merriwether volunteers at Comer Children’s by serving on the Teen Advisory Board, whose members make suggestions to help create a more “kid-and teen-friendly” hospital.

“From the patient’s perspective, being sick for anyone can be really disempowering so the opportunities that I had to give back and be part of what goes on at the hospital was really empowering for me,” she said.