Panda Express partners with Driscoll Children's Hospital to raise money for more resources

Posted at 9:25 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 22:25:26-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Driscoll Children’s Hospital received a $1 million donation from Panda Express to support the hospitals Patient’s Family Services Program.

Now, patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital can continue their education while getting the care they need.

"Any patient who spends overnight here or any period of time can continue their studies,” said Sean Pieri.

Pieri is the Vice President responsible for fundraising and marketing at Driscoll.

He said a big part of their Patient Family Services Program is providing a sense of normalcy as children receive treatment.

Thanks to their partnership with Panda Express, they are doing just that by establishing Panda Cares Center of Hope, a classroom where kids can continue their studies.

"Everything we try to do is try to make the hospital less threatening for the children who come here,” he said.

Last year, the hospital’s emergency room cared for 40,000 patients across South Texas.

Marie Soza is a hospital bound teacher with the Corpus Christi Independent School District, and she knows first-hand the importance of this program.

"Blaze was my son. I saw that with Blaze, how important it was for him to have friends even in the hospital,” Soza said.

Soza lost her son in 1996 to a brain tumor. It was year's later when she decided to take over as the lead teacher through the district’s hospital school program.

"So, they come in the morning like a regular school day. You can see our calendar over there. We do daily activity like Math, Science, Social Studies, and English,” she explained.

It counts their attendance and keeps them on track.

For many children it's an opportunity to learn English. Belia DeLeon helps patients that are learning English as a second language.

DeLeon tells us she works one-on-one with students to help translate and communicate with the parents about their child’s education.

The money given to the school will be used support students in all grade levels

They also plan on providing materials for students.

A portion of the donations will also benefit other departments within Driscoll Children's Hospital.