Pediatric Outreach Program (POP)
The Pediatric Outreach Program (POP) is an organization that matches children in the St. Louis area who are suffering from chronic illnesses and the siblings of these children with big brothers and big sisters from Washington University School of Medicine. Medical students meet with their little siblings about once a month, participating in activities that form a meaningful relationship for both the medical student and the child. Some of these activities include going to the zoo or a playground, doing arts and crafts, reading books together, etc. In addition, there are several seasonal parties throughout the year for the medical students, the children, and their families to meet and mingle. The social work department at St. Louis Children’s Hospital serves as a referral source for families, trains medical students to deal with issues associated with chronic disease, and provides ongoing support throughout the duration of the match. The goal of our program is twofold: to provide additional love and support to sick children and their families, and to allow students to experience firsthand the demands of coping with illness and its stress as it relates to the everyday lives of children.