Blank Children's Hospital serves an essential role for the children and families that need their services. This year marked the 30th year of their annual fundraising event, the Festival of Trees and Lights. IowaLUG was honored to participate during the week long public event by pouring nearly 10,000 bricks out in a LEGO Build Station activity area.

Chris and Scott are at it again. Following the success of the SCI Brick Built program, we were approached by Blank Children's Hospital (UnityPoint Health) and asked to consider a new project. The plan consists of two phases, phase 1 just happened, it was for IowaLUG to participate in the Festival of Trees. Phase 2 is for early 2014 and includes a custom build project and some events for the patients and their families receiving care at Blank Children's Hospital.

The Festival of Trees was held at Veterans Auditorium the week of Thanksgiving. IowaLUG sponsored a LEGO free build station with nearly 10,000 bricks for the children to create with, and create they did. At some points, it was tough to "recycle" bricks fast enough for the new creations. Lots and lots of pictures were taken of the kids and their creations. We enjoyed a constant stream of builders the whole event!

Check out the pictures included below and you can see there were some really great creations. It never ceases to amaze me what can be built from just standard bricks, and the common color only adds to the creativity. Hopefully some of the builders will join us at our Meet Ups and start "building away from the instructions."

We expect to learn more as they determine attendance at various activities, but initial indications are that the LEGO build station was very successful, and this could be the start of something the IowaLUG does annually. It is a great opportunity to connect with the broader public, and find new members, while allowing kids to have a great time. The leaders from the UnityPoint Foundation were very pleased, and feel this is a great addition to the event.

Of course, now we are thinking we should do a wreath or a tree next year, so we will be discussing that at future Meet Ups. How many bricks would it take to build a 7' tree? Ok, maybe we shoot for ornaments only.

Next year, consider helping to staff the activity... it was great fun, the kids were excited, and there are a lot of questions that we can answer. I had great fun the two shifts that I did. They had pretty good fresh baked chocolate chip cookies too!

Check out these additional images: