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New program for kids on dialysis at Riley Hospital for Children

Posted at 12:22 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 12:25:48-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A new incentive program in the dialysis unit at Riley Hospital for Children is rewarding its patients and teaching them valuable life lessons.

The kids at Riley spend 12 hours a week getting dialysis, which means they're missing time with their friends, family, and school work.

Through this new program, however, these kids can stay on track with their health and schoolwork and get rewarded with 'Kidney Kash.'

DeAnthony Knighten is a fourth-grader, and he spends four hours per visit, three days a week, in a Riley bed getting a dialysis treatment. The new Kidney Kash program at Riley is something that makes him smile while he's there.

"They are missing school; they're missing field trips," Kelle Clevenger, a teacher for the Riley school program, said. "So, I just wanted something they could look forward to. They have ownership of it and then also just the life skill portion of that."

The Kidney Kash program isn't all fun and games — Clevenger also wants it to teach the kids life skills.

"How to budget, keep a checkbook, do I want to shop for instant gratification, do I want to save?" Clevenger said.

Every time the kids earn money, they have to deposit it into their Kidney Kash bank account, which for them is done the old fashioned way — on a checkbook ledger.

But, they do not just check and balance; kids also have to pay bills.

"Some of them don't appreciate this, but they do have to pay rent once a month," Clevenger said. "$50, and it's been really interesting, and actually fun to watch them on a shopping day, because if it's the week of rent being due on the first, then they have to take that into account before they can make their purchases."

Since starting the program in September, Clevenger says she's seen a positive impact on the kids.

"One of my ninth-graders, especially, he would avoid even looking at me sometimes," Clevenger said. "And he has been really motivated by Kidney Kash, and he's saving up for one of the big items."

The items kids can buy now were bought through a grant from Regions Bank. Clevenger says they are taking donations for new things to put on the cart, and DeAnthony thinks he'd like to see a tablet on there.

You can call the Riley Children's Foundation and mention the school program to donate at 317-634-4474.

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