A Bright Future for Riley Kid, Serenity
I taught third grade for a few years, then stayed home to raise my kids. I learned about the Riley School Program through Women for Riley. I started as a volunteer, and I’ve been here five years as an employee now.
I see kids in the dialysis unit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. One of them is Serenity, a third grader. We’ve been through a lot together. When she first started dialysis, her education was virtual due to COVID-19. I worked with Serenity, her family, and her school to continue to provide Serenity education while she is on dialysis. I also worked with Serenity’s medical team to provide dialysis education to her peers, so they understood Serenity’s medical situation.
Now Serenity is back in school. She misses math class when she is here, and although we concentrate mostly on math, we touch on all subjects. She is progressing well! I am in constant communication with her teachers. Yes, I do bedside instruction, but a big part of my job is helping schools understand how chronic illness impacts education. The families here are under so much stress from their child’s medical journey. Family support programs, like the School Program, are offered free of charge to families, which is why we rely so much on wonderful donors to help offset the costs of running our program.
For someone so young, who is going through so much, Serenity is incredibly thoughtful. She always asks about my weekend. And I have a great niece who she is always asking about. ‘How is baby Mia?’ she’ll say.
But Serenity is also resilient. Think about what she is going through! Serenity’s school is very supportive, and we are here to work with schools and families to ensure students succeed. I see such a bright future for Serenity.
Kellee Clevenger first came to the Riley School Program as a volunteer. She has worked as an Educational Liaison for Riley Children's Health for five years.