$1,505 raised via 32 donations
Project Sunshine harnesses the healing powers of play and connection to help children and families cope with medical challenges. Our play-based programs - delivered by a dedicated corps of trained volunteers - alleviate the stress of hospital stays and medical procedures while promoting key aspects of childhood like socialization, creative expression, intellectual stimulation, and sensory integration. We partner with 425+ medical facilities in the United States and in four international locations: Canada, China, Israel, and Kenya.
July 1, 2022
Daniella Damti was at a happy hour at a bar when she noticed a woman in a bright yellow shirt. Moving closer, she saw the Project Sunshine logo and introduced herself to ask about it. The Project Sunshine volunteer was quick to rave about her experiences with the program and the very next day, Daniella was on the Project Sunshine website, learning more. Now, more than six years since that happy hour, Daniella is the PS chapter leader at the Floating Hospital of NYC, and Project Sunshine volunteers continue to brighten her day: “I have never met kinder, nicer, and more patient people,” she says, “everyone just wants to help someone who is in need a little bit of happiness.” The Floating Hospital is committed to the same mission it started with in 1866: “offering healthcare to those whose circumstances make it difficult to access affordable or no-cost health services.” They run a free shuttle to more than 250 shelters and domestic violence safehouses and focuses not just on patient medical needs but also on family wellness, providing a variety of services and programs. Daniella is responsible for a monthly Project Sunshine visit and says the Floating Hospital staff are always thrilled to see that group of yellow shirts show up to help out. One of Daniella’s favorite things about volunteering with Project Sunshine is there’s no particular experience or skill set necessary: a person just needs to show up, smile, and be ready to engage with the kids. “There’s no script to follow,” she points out, “you just listen to the kid and react to them—they just want someone to treat them with respect and pay attention to them.” She pauses, then adds, “And try to make sure they’re not getting glitter everywhere.” Daniella works at Morgan Stanley, and she praises her company’s support of service—“Give Back” is one of their five Core Values. Daniella feels fortunate to be able to schedule her Project Sunshine volunteer hours during the workday but notes that PS has flexible volunteer opportunities, which is part of what attracted her to the organization in the first place. Now that she wears a yellow shirt herself, Daniella is happy to spread the sunshine and recruit new people to the cause. Why? “Because our volunteers want to do what they’re doing,” she says, “they’re just smiling and having fun and making people happy.” Once a month, for a couple of hours, a group of people show up and hang out and have fun with kids; Daniella makes it sound so easy—maybe because it is.
July 6, 2022
On a midnight visit this past October to the local ER, Tia and Matt, Ellie’s parents, heard the news that no caregiver wants to hear: Ellie needed an emergency surgery. Her condition was so serious that they were immediately transported by ambulance to a hospital two hours from their home. Matt says, “we had no time to prepare a three-year old not to be scared, to make sure she was comfortable.” The next seven days were spent in Ellie’s hospital room, as COVID restrictions kept them from leaving the room, having her sibling visit, or even interacting with other patients. The bright spot of their stay become the daily delivery of Project Sunshine Activity Kits by the nurses. In fact, over a month later, that is all that Ellie recalls of the harrowing seven-day stay: “the stickers, slime, a puzzle, painting, crayons…” Ellie’s dad, Matt: “It was this life-threatening situation, we were totally on edge, and what she remembers is an enjoyable experience,” and her mom Tia: “That’s what she remembers, can you believe that? The stickers! It made all the difference.”
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