One school nurse that continues to inspire me personally is Karen Leister from Southern Boulevard School in New Jersey. In 2006 along with her school psychologist, Karen created an incredible program for her district called FAST Friends (FAST standing for Food Allergy Support Team). Established with a grant from the Chatham Education Foundation, this group meets five or six times a year on various topics designed to help elementary school children better understand their food allergies. The goal of this group is three-fold: to offer support to children who are learning to eat differently at school and beyond, to equip these children to (eventually) assume their own care through education and to raise awareness in the community by teaching others and by thanking those who are most helpful in supporting kids with food allergies.
Karen's program has been so successful that in 2009, she received an honorable mention for the national Muriel C. Furlong Award for Making a Difference from FAAN. Kudos to Karen! And on behalf of all the grateful parents out there, kudos to all of the school nurses who are working hard on the front lines to keep our children safe. We couldn't do it without you!