Introducing October Buddy of the Month: Mariela Villarreal

Introducing October Buddy of the Month: Mariela Villarreal

Is there anything more rewarding than lifting the spirits of young children in the hospital? Mariela Villarreal couldn’t think of anything to top the feeling of giving hope to a sick child. As a founding member and treasurer of our University of Texas – Austin chapter, Mariela is proud to carry out the mission of StudentsCare each day. 

Our Student Buddies, like Mariela, are able to create a fun environment for hospitalized children by visiting and offering play activities at the bedside and hosting fun, interactive events in hospital play spaces. Mariela recalls one of her favorite memories with StudentsCare, which was a Halloween event held at Dell Children’s Medical Center. “Members of the community had graciously donated hundreds of costumes for our buddies to enjoy. We set up a ‘Halloween costume store’ in one of the playrooms, and patients (and their siblings) could pick any costume they wanted.” The event was a blast – and both the Student Buddies and the children had fun. Mariela continues, “I really enjoyed helping our buddies create the perfect costume, complete with wigs and props. Seeing all of those superheroes and princesses walking down the halls brightened my day.”

As an aspiring pediatrician, Mariela recognizes the importance of volunteering with pediatric patients and their families. “I now know firsthand just how much joy and relief we can give to patients and their family members.’ What we do is so simple, but it has such a meaningful and far-reaching impact,” Mariela says. She continues, “We get to offer parents the opportunity to take a break, have someone to talk to, and see their kids have fun.” 

Bringing joy and improving the hospital experience for children and their families is what StudentsCare is all about. Mariela has gained invaluable knowledge and skills during her time with StudentsCare, and she hopes to use this in her professional endeavors. She says, “I hope for more wonderful memories and experiences that will only make me a better doctor.”

Thank you, Mariela, for your dedication to StudentsCare! It is students like you who put the Care in StudentsCare!


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