Jennifer Schueck dedicates her life to making children’s lives healthier and happier through events like Arkansas a la Carte.
By Jillian McGehee | Photography by Lily Darragh
Hair by Dusty England of Solo Salon | Makeup by Kristin Ivy of Pout
Clothing & jewelry provided by Companions
The Schuecks experienced the world-class pediatric healthcare at Arkansas Children’s Hospital during their son’s hospitalization. Following his treatment at the hospital, Jennifer was so impressed with the critical care he received that she became a volunteer with the hospital’s auxiliary. Later, her twin daughters’ ACH stay further solidified her civic commitment. “All of these experiences have given me a profound respect for the work and dedication of the physicians, nurses and staff at Arkansas Children’s Hospital,” she says. “I feel that God truly placed my husband and me at Arkansas Children’s Hospital as our mission in life.”
Jennifer is president of the ACH Auxiliary and member of the ACH Board of Directors. Her husband, Patrick, has served both on the ACH Foundation Board of Directors and the ACH Board of Directors. “My husband and I have a passion for children and especially the health and safety of children. Arkansas Children’s Hospital is a place of hope and healing for the children of Arkansas and beyond. If you walk the halls of the hospital, you see the compassion on the faces of the staff. They truly care about these children.”
Jennifer’s commitment to the hospital is “invaluable,” says Fred Scarborough, president of ACH Foundation. “With her leadership at Miracle Ball and years of service with the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, her dedication as president has continued to highlight the mission of Arkansas Children’s Hospital and keep the promises made to the children of Arkansas.”
The hospital auxiliary is a group of nearly 600 women from across the state that annually contributes more than $1 million to ACH for various hospital needs. Projects throughout the year and events, such as Arkansas a la Carte, generate revenue that support the life-changing and renowned care the hospital provides. Arkansas a la Carte features samplings from a variety of eateries, live entertainment and a silent auction. Chairman Kimberly Bowman has added exciting new features this year, Jennifer notes.
One addition is Art a la Carte – featuring ACH patient artwork in the silent auction to connect guests with the children they are helping. Several well-known artists from around the state worked with ACH patients to create original artwork for the evening’s auction. Their stories of commitment are nothing short of uplifting. For artist Seth James, Adult Reyes Syndrome left him a quadriplegic and he was forced to relearn simple tasks. His routine physical therapy requires extensive breath control treatments. A speech pathologist encouraged Seth to consider an innovative technique for painting that quickly turned from an artistic therapeutic outlet into a new, purposeful way of life.
James paints using a straw to control the direction of the colors on the canvas. Having his art featured in the auction is a special way to showcase James’ devotion to ACH, Kimberly says. “I will never forget when a patient grabbed a canvas and looked up to him with excitement in his eyes. Everyone could feel the power of that moment. Together, they created priceless memories and one-of-a-kind art. The auxiliary utilizes artwork as a platform to educate people on a multitude of the hospital’s specialties. With the end result benefiting Arkansas a la Carte, Art a la Carte is a full-circle project and one with exciting possibilities.”
It’s an exciting time to be involved with ACH, Jennifer adds. Since July 2013, with the arrival of new CEO Marcy Doderer, “the hospital has embarked on a bold new vision for the health care of the children in Arkansas,” notes Jennifer. “The hospital is creating a statewide network of care that strives to provide every child in Arkansas with access to world class pediatric health care through the use of telemedicine and mobile health vans that will travel from county to county and more.”
In addition to the statewide network of care, the hospital has made a renewed commitment to children suffering from abuse, neglect and maltreatment. The Center for Safe and Healthy Children is scheduled to open in August and will provide all of the current medical, legal and mental health services for victims of child maltreatment in one comprehensive facility. The ACH Auxiliary has pledged $1.5 million to this project, Jennifer says, noting it’s become the group’s focus.
DINING with Jennifer
Favorite Restaurant – The Pantry Crest
Sweet or Savory – savory
Favorite Family Recipe – braised short ribs & smoked barbecue ribs
Favorite Go-To Recipe – homemade spaghetti