7-year-old’s passion for painting impacts young patients

Annelise Ponder just turned 7, but she she’s making a difference beyond her years. The young artist found creative ways to help children at Carle find joy in stressful circumstances.

This summer, Annelise combined her passion for painting with her love for people. The first-grader sold her mini canvases at the Salt Fork River Art Festival so she could buy more than $100 worth of art supplies for pediatric patients.

In a host of ways, Child Life Services helps children and families cope with the stress of serious healthcare needs. While each child faces unique circumstances, a coping mechanism they all share is that of play.

Eager to share her gift, Annelise and her mother Becky Ponder made a special delivery to children in the hospital.

“We recently talked about how lucky we are to be healthy and what it means to give back,” Ponder said. “Annelise has a schoolmate with cancer, and we’ve talked about her long days spent in the hospital.

“She finds arts to be soothing and healing, so Annelise couldn’t think of a better gift to give than art.”

The generous gift made an impression on patients and personnel alike.

“This is a special place,” Child Life Specialist Ashley DeGlopper said. “We help children deal with hardship and illness in ways that they can understand.

“It goes a long way for our patients to know that other kids who are healthy are thinking about them. It’s amazing that she did this.”

To Ponder, the lessons are priceless.

“I hope Annelise learned that giving is one of life’s greatest blessings,” she said.

“It is a gift to the recipient and to yourself.”

Generous donations to Carle Center for Philanthropy help fund Child Life Services.