Baylor Nursing Alumni Help Turn Hospitalized Children into Superheroes

  • Capes 1
    Cody Reynolds, B.S. (nursing) '13, a founding member of the Capes 4 Kids nonprofit, dresses up as Coffee Man to deliver capes to hospitalized children. Photos courtesy of Jordan Loetscher.
  • Capes 2
    Jordan Loetscher, B.S. (nursing) '13, and Cody Reynolds, B.S. (nursing) '13, founded Capes 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization that creates and delivers superhero capes to hospital-bound children.
  • capes 3
    Jordan Loetscher, B.S. (nursing) '13, who helped found Capes 4 Kids, dresses up as Bow and Arrow Girl to deliver superhero capes and superhero sidekick teddy bears to children in the hospital.
  • Capes 4
    Each month, Capes 4 Kids holds "cape factories" at Union Coffee House in Dallas where volunteers can help make superhero capes and teddy bears for hospitalized children.
  • Capes 5
    Volunteers at the "cape factories" trace, cut, sew and decorate the capes. Capes are given to hospital-bound children in hopes of encouraging them to become superheroes fighting their diseases.
July 18, 2016

Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

Media contact: Eric M. Eckert, (254) 710-1964

WACO, Texas (July 18, 2016) — Every month, people of all ages meet at Union Coffee House in Dallas to cut, sew and decorate child-sized superhero capes.

These capes aren’t Halloween costumes, though. Capes 4 Kids, a Dallas-based nonprofit, organizes these “cape factories” to create and deliver capes to hospital-bound children across the Dallas/Fort Worth area in hopes of encouraging them to become “superheroes” fighting their diseases.

Capes 4 Kids was started in 2013 by two students at the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing. Jordan Loetscher, B.S. (nursing) ’13, and Cody Reynolds, B.S. (nursing) ’13, along with the rest of the student leadership team, were charged with deciding what to do for their senior class give-back project. Instead of fundraising for an item to donate to the school, like most senior classes do, the team came up with the idea to create and deliver superhero capes to children battling serious illnesses.

“Especially during nursing school, it was very evident to us that the process of healing is not just a physical process,” Loetscher said. “In order to get well, there’s not just your physical health—there’s your emotional health, your psychological health, your spiritual health—and it became so evident in the hospital that the people who were in better moods and felt hope and felt love were the ones that were more likely to get better faster. We wanted to tie into that and tie into it in one of the most vulnerable groups for that, which is young children and children in general.”

Loetscher and Reynolds launched the organization on the first day of their senior year of nursing school. They created costumes and a promotional video over the summer and held “sewing days” once a week throughout the semester in the school’s lunch area. Students and professors donated time and money, Loetscher said, and by the end of the semester they had 47 capes to give to children.

The Capes 4 Kids nonprofit picked up momentum after their graduation, Loetscher said, when they partnered with Union Coffee House in Dallas.

Union Coffee House, a nonprofit coffee shop aimed at improving the Dallas community, connected Capes 4 Kids with various resources such as fundraisers and the local sewing guild. Furthermore, Union offered its space for use as the “cape factory,” where volunteers could meet to design and sew capes.

“We now have cape factories once a month,” Loetscher said. “We have between 40 and 100 people showing up every month to sew capes, and we usually make about 40 to 75 capes.”

Capes 4 Kids accepts volunteers of all ages. From tracing patterns to cutting material to sewing designs, there is a job for everyone at the cape factories.

“So long as a child is old enough to be able to trace, they are old enough to help out at the cape factory,” Loetscher said.

Each year, Capes 4 Kids also hosts one “mega-factory” at a larger location.

“Our mega-factory this year will be in November in Fair Park, and we’re expecting somewhere between 200 and 250 people,” Loetscher said. At last year’s mega-factory, volunteers made 80 capes.

Material left over from the capes is used to make teddy bears that the children at hospitals can decorate and stuff themselves. The bears are given their own miniature capes and become the children’s “superhero sidekick bears.”

Capes 4 Kids volunteers dressed as superheroes visit hospitals to deliver the capes and teddy bears to the children personally. They often deliver to children in the hospital playrooms, Loetscher said, but also are sure to visit the children who cannot leave their rooms.

“Capes 4 Kids strives to take care of their psychological and emotional wellbeing by giving them a little push and saying, ‘Hey — you are a superhero battling this super villain that is whatever disease process you are going through, and we’re here for you. And not only that — you are awesome, you are a superhero, and here’s your cape to prove it,’” Loetscher said.

When delivering to the children, the volunteers often give capes and bears to the children’s siblings as well, Loetscher said.

“Siblings go through just as much when their brother or sister is really sick,” she said. “They just experience it in a different way.”

Loetscher described a time when she and Reynolds, disguised as “Bow and Arrow Girl” and “Coffee Man,” visited a sick child and her younger sister.

“The moment they saw us, they instantly broke out in smiles and became very chatty and talkative,” Loetscher said. “They asked us who we were and why superheroes were coming to visit. We talked with them, helped decorate their sidekick bears and gave them their capes … It was so great to see the immediate impact our capes had for these little girls’ moods.”

The nonprofit is continuing to grow and looks forward to continuing to help children at hospitals across the Dallas and Fort Worth area. To donate money or fabric, or to find information on cape factories and volunteering with Capes 4 Kids, please visit the Capes 4 Kids website.

by Karyn Simpson, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

ABOUT LOUISE HERRINGTON SCHOOL OF NURSING

The Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) located in Dallas was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor University Medical Center, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first Baccalaureate degrees were granted in 1950 establishing the school among the earliest baccalaureate nursing programs in the United States. In 1999, the School was renamed the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing after Louise Herrington Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, who made an endowment gift to the school. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing, LHSON offers Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees through a Traditional program and FastBacc (one year accelerated program). LHSON also offers an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Leadership and Innovation program, as well as Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs to include, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Nurse-Midwife (CNM) and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP). LHSON was featured in U.S. News & World Report for the 2017 Best Graduate Schools ranking the DNP program in the top 50 US nursing schools at #45. The Baylor MSN program is ranked at #58 and the Nurse Midwifery Program ranked at 10th. Baylor’s MSN in Nursing Leadership & Innovation Online Program ranked #79 in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Programs during its inaugural year. For more information, www.baylor.edu/nursing

Looking for more news from Baylor University?