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UNC freshman Faith Jarvis creates comic books to help kids overcome fear of the doctor

Comic book superhero Mighty Molly has become a role model for children at three North Carolina hospitals thanks to a Girl Scout Gold Award project.

SuperkidCARE, which started as UNC freshman Faith Jarvis's Gold Award project during her senior year of high school, creates comic books and other materials to help children overcome their fear of visiting the doctor. 

Faith Jarvis created a video and comic book called "Mighty Molly Goes to the Hospital," a superhero who uses superpowers to be brave while being in the hospital.

Will Jarvis, Faith Jarvis' brother and a UNC junior, expanded on his sister's idea and created the nonprofit SuperkidCARE with other UNC students and based the organization out of the entrepreneurship incubator 1789 Venture Labs on Franklin Street. 

“We surveyed about 30 health care professionals about the need, so we had tons of information and feedback,” Will Jarvis said.

Before SuperkidCARE, Bennie Jarvis, Will and Faith Jarvis' mother and an otolaryngologist at Nash/UNC Health Care, a branch of UNC Health Care based in Rocky Mount, said there had been patient education materials for special surgeries but not a general guide for children.

“When kids get scared, it’s very difficult to work with them,” Bennie Jarvis said. 

Sheila Moore, nurse manager for the pediatrics/special care nursery, said upon admission, children are given a book and a DVD to explain what might happen during their visit and what the doctors and nurses are doing.

“We are very grateful that Dr. Jarvis and her children did this for us,” Moore said. 

Moore said the nurses like the material because it makes explaining what is happening to the children easier since it is on their level in a way children can understand.

Faith Jarvis said as a doctor’s child, she used to spend a lot of time in the pediatric playroom and found it boring and wanted to make the experience more interesting for children at the hospital.

During her senior year of high school, Faith Jarvis created Project Very Important Pediatric Patient, or Project VIPP. Through this project, Faith Jarvis created the superhero Mighty Molly, whose super power was bravery, and recorded a video featuring Mighty Molly visiting the hospital with the help of other students from the school drama club. 

Will Jarvis said his sister donated the Mighty Molly books, available in both English and Spanish, and the video with DVD players, to Nash General Hospital, now known as Nash/UNC Health Care, as well as other hospitals.

Will Jarvis said he saw the potential in the project and decided to bring it to the next level, which is when he founded the organization SuperkidCARE in 2013 with other students.The team is now working on a new comic book with better quality content and they hope to bring the books to more hospitals. 

“In the new book, we link holding your parents’ hands to bravery,” he said. “When the superhero holds her parents’ hands, she connects with her superpower, which is bravery.”

In an email, Will Jarvis said the group is planning to finish the book by Oct. 31.

Will Jarvis said the group's vision is to bring the product to 50 hospitals in five years. Eventually they plan to develop an app version of the book so children can play with it on an iPad.

He said the team has received a lot of advice on the content of the book from a child psychologist and will be meeting with the UNC Psychology Department next month for some feedback.

Faith Jarvis said there is a lot of potential with the organization.

“We are just trying to network with people and see if we can get to more hospitals," she said.

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