How One Teen is Bringing Beauty to Hospitals

Who hasn’t at one time or another (or maybe, still do) dread going to hospital? Imagine having to spend 6 weeks there. Yea, not that appealing right? Well, one member is using her personal experience to help brighten the day of sick girls who have no choice but to spend long periods of time in the same, boring hospital room. Julia Pinney, 15, helps put a smile on the faces of these teens with her "beauty boxes." We love this – so much so that we awarded Pinney a $500 seed grant to help grow her project. Check out our interview with the Los Angeles native below!

Who/what inspired you to start this project?

My experience as a patient in the hospital for 6 weeks inspired me to supply teenage girls in the hospital with some pampering and TLC that I would have loved to receive as a patient.

Why is your project so kickass?

My project is really kickass because it comes from such a personal place. I have experienced firsthand what it’s like [to be in that position]. You don’t feel relaxed or beautiful. I, along with 25 others, create “beauty boxes” containing fuzzy socks, lip balm, body wash, lotion, nail polish, and other fun items.

Beauty Box is very unique because it also addresses the issue of the awkward position teenage patients can face with our healthcare facilities. They are too young for an adult hospital, but often feel too old in a pediatric hospital. Each Beauty box has a survey on the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which will give me feedback on how the hospital can be improved to benefit teen patients.

What is one moment that made you realize why you started doing this in the first place?

I can't really pinpoint a specific moment, but just in general the thanks that I have received – and hearing from social workers at the hospital about how patients’ faces really light up when they know someone has taken time to make something special just for them.

What is one thing that makes you unique?

I've experienced a lot more in my 15 years than most people will in their whole lives because I have been sick. I have a bit more perspective on things that most people my age don’t have. Although that sounds sort of depressing, I've really tried to get through it with a smile on my face. I also really love to bake and take part in my school's musicals.

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