Graduate Spotlight: Laura from CHOP

Laura Bien-Aime is on a mission. Only three years after graduating high school, Laura founded Laura’s Children Foundation to teach children simple strategies to lead healthier lives. Having primarily worked as a teacher’s assistant, she saw a West Philadelphia Skills Initiative flyer about training and job opportunities to join the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) as a Patient Sitter. She knew that the opportunity would bring her closer to her goals, but after attending an in-person informational session, she hesitated. “I thought, ‘Oh, let me see,’ and it was a big session! I thought it was something small and then I saw how many people showed up and I thought, ‘Oh no, I really hope I get chosen!’” 


Laura was one of thirteen people chosen to complete the month-long program, and after successful program completion, she was hired by CHOP as a Patient Sitter. Now a Skills Initiative alumna, Laura stayed connected and maintained her reputation as a high performer, earning the Go-Coach Alumni Spotlight Award in the Community Champion category at the Skills Initiative ten year celebration. This high achiever has also experienced her fair share of hurdles. 


Laura enrolled in a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program, excelling with the highest GPA in her class while pursuing additional courses and exploring RN programs. Despite setbacks like needing to retake expired science classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Laura remained steadfast, eventually earning acceptance into an LPN-RN program at Delaware County Community College, which accelerated her path to graduation while consistently achieving the honor roll. By May 2023, Laura graduated with her Registered Nurse degree and is now pursuing an RN-BSN program at West Chester University.  


Reflecting on her journey, Laura shared, “Achieving the highest average after going back to school allowed me to rewrite my narrative. It wasn’t a straightforward journey, but I am grateful.” Over the course of her educational journey, Laura has been a three-time WPSI Scholar award recipient, earning funding towards tuition from the last-dollar scholarship program. 


Through it all, Laura has been growing her nonprofit. In 2021, Laura’s Children’s Foundation (LCF) began providing in-school programming to educate children on mental and physical wellness to raise awareness about preventable disease processes. Laura says that poor health outcomes are the result of poor health literacy, so she and her team work to shift the narrative through health education. Last year, LCF launched the “1 Mile and More” to raise awareness and money for their Healthy Home Initiative (HHI), a 6-month program targeting young people who are either currently obese or diagnosed as pre-diabetic. Program participants will receive supplemental income and community connections to support physical activity. “It’s a familial approach… We don’t have many requirements, but everyone in the family or the household has to agree that they want to be a part and see a change. Because you can’t change the diet and the habits of the child unless everyone in the house is on board.”  


It might sound like Laura has achieved all of her dreams and more, but she has another goal in mind: opening her own community health center. If her perseverance and hard work have shown us anything, it is that she is going to do exactly that. We can’t wait to share the information about the ribbon cutting. 


To learn more or donate, please visit the Laura’s Children Foundation website.