You might have seen our new desert friends popping up as stick puppets at NOAH health centers over the past year as a tool to entertain and engage children visiting NOAH; either for their own care or the care of a loved one. NOAH’s Desert Friends quickly gained popularity among patients of all ages inspiring an additional character, naming opportunity, photo backdrop, and more.
Kicking off at NOAHfest in January, event participants were invited to submit name suggestions for each animal. The naming campaign continued throughout the month at NOAH health centers throughout the Valley. From over 100 names submitted by NOAH patients and friends, the top five names for each animal were chosen with final names determined by popular vote among NOAH team members. NOAH is proud to introduce NOAH’s Desert Friends!
Meet the Characters
Niko the coyote is friendly, smart, and helpful but gets worried easily.
Maya the hummingbird is very active, opinionated, and full of advice.
Javi the javelina is somber but pleasant. You can find him always eating his vegetables.
Sheldon the tortoise is shy, unsure, and easily embarrassed.
This year is turning out to be very busy for our new buddies. In partnership with the Arizona Lottery, NOAH has created an original children’s book which tells the story of our four friends helping one another overcome obstacles while learning important life lessons. Books will be distributed in English and Spanish to patients 6-12 years old participating in NOAH’s wellness exam and sports physical Back-to-School events. Grow With Me kits and coloring books, also funded through the Arizona Lottery Gives Back program, will be offered to patients ages 0-12 during the Back-to-School events scheduled for July 29 (at Palomino Health Center) and August 5 (at Cholla Health Center) while supplies last. More information about our Back-to-School events will be coming soon.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for our new companions, and check back often to learn about the exciting future activities our pals have planned!