Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Told You So!

Since you don’t interact with the hospitals’ Child Life staff, see the patients or hear from recipients of our special deliveries, we want to provide a brief glimpse of how people feel about your work!

Here are quotes that we’ve heard from members of the Child Life staff:
·         "Thank you so much for the cards you sent over to Advocate Children's Hospital in Park Ridge.  The cards bring holiday cheer to the hospitalized children and something so simple brighten the days of the kids as well as their parents.  Thank you for your partnership in making the hospital experience a more positive one for the children here.  The holidays are a difficult time for any child to be in the hospital and we appreciate your partnership in this way.  Happy New Year!" –Advocate Children’s Hospital

·         "We think they are adorable and that our patients will really enjoy them. :) We see kids of all ages and I think these cards will brighten up their stay. I know our patients get very excited when they receive mail. :)" –Children’s Hospital of Illinois

·         "Thank you so much for the wonderful cards you made for our patients here at Children’s Hospital University of Illinois.  The children loved receiving them yesterday!!  It helps to brighten up their rooms and puts smiles on their faces.  Thanks for thinking of the patients here at CHUI, we greatly appreciate it!!" –Children’s Hospital University of Illinois

·         "Thank you so much for thinking of the patients and families at Rainbow, especially the ones who cannot leave their rooms.  I think this is such an amazing idea. – Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital

·         "Thank you so very much for making and organizing a group to make such wonderful greeting cards. Our patients here at RIC really appreciate them. It means so much that they are handmade and done with care. It is very kind of you to spend your time giving back to others!" – Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Here are some quotes from patients and their families:
  • "AWWW She's going to be so excited to put these in their scrapbook!!!" - Grandmother of twins in the NICU chats about how her daughter will love their custom cards! – 4/28/2013

  •  (sigh of relief) “Thank you thank you, this is just what we neededdaughter, aka patient, passionately nods her head in agreement– Thankful mother describes how the cards are cute and are uplifting their spirits during their current trial – 9/15/2013

Here are some quotes from special delivery destinations
·         “Thank you Cardz for Kidz for the joy you brought to this third-grade class in Benin!” – Director of the DagbĂ© Organization

·         "Thank you so much for all those beautifully decorated cards and snowflakes! They were absolutely gorgeous and the most wonderful spirit-lifters for all these children at Sandy Hook." – Mother of a Sandy Hook Elementary School Student

So yes yes, we understand that a picture is worth a thousand words, but we wanted to provide you those 472 words to show you that you are TRULY appreciated. You’re making a difference; if you don’t believe what we’re saying just read what’s written above…..just know our response will be, we TOLD YOU SO! More to come!

#upliftingspirits #toldyouso

To see more comments and learn about events check out our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cardzforkidz or follow us on Twitter @cardzforkidz

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The True Definition


Now be honest. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word tough???
Here are some of the responses that we received, just to warn you some are pretty “interesting”:
  • Male Sales Professional: FORD
  • Male Entrepreneur: Mike Ditka
  • Male Digital Specialist: Strong
  • Female Dietitian: Hard
  • Female Office Manager: Football
  • Female Project Manager: Goals
  • Male Marketing Professional: Nails
  • Female Health Researcher: Superheroes
  • Female Accountant: Women
  • Male College Student: Having Heart
  • Male Maintenance Engineer: Myself
  • Female Dental Hygienist: Strength
  • Female Fashion Expert: Sand Paper
  • Female Marketing Professional: Challenges
  • Male Law Student: Ndamukong Suh


Now for us, we think of PEDIATRIC PATIENTS.

Ebbs and flows.
Often during volunteer shifts in the Family Life Center (aka Playroom) one can see the room packed with kids while at other times it’s nearly empty. It is unclear which patient is accompanied by which adult until the child has a reaction to their treatment or are visibly uncomfortable.

During a recent visit we were able to see consistent changes in the amount of children in the playroom. There were some siblings and/or patients who were too scared to come out of the corner. While there were others who were focused on breaking the world record for the amount of rubber balls one could shoot down the custom penguin slide within 30 seconds (world record is 17). Then there were other pediatric patients who were simply enjoying themselves while painting special pictures and creating wooden artwork.

On September 15th there was a young girl proudly wearing her pink University of Michigan shirt while painting a special woodblock. From a distance you could see her smile and work, using detailed strokes with her thin paint brush. From a slight distance her parents watched proudly. When you got closer to the patient one could see red blisters or sore spots on her arms and face.  Even with that pain she was tough enough to focus on her masterpiece.

There was another family from Cleveland - Ohio State fans- who were peacefully watching the Cleveland Browns game on a tablet. Only in a large pediatric hospital’s packed playroom can you find Michigan and Ohio State fans focused on brightening up each other’s spirits rather than proving who’s more dominant.

Based on these kids ability to focus on painting woodblocks, playing with small toys, or even simply holding their family while smiling, it’s clear…….THEY ARE THE DEFINITION OF TOUGH, STRONG AND RESILIENT combined.

#upliftingspirits #tough #truedefinition

To see more pics and learn about events check out our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cardzforkidz or follow us on Twitter @cardzforkidz

Friday, September 20, 2013

Team Effort!!

Starting with the facts. Cardz for Kidz! provides cards for all distressed children. The first card delivery outside of a hospital was to the children in Newton, Connecticut. The connection to Sandy Hook was through another elementary school in Connecticut. Here are a couple images of their artwork:



After hearing of the shooting we checked to learn that our Connecticut artists were not involved…..but the little boy who started Cardz for Kidz! at his school had cousins that attended Sandy Hook Elementary school. The family confirmed that they would love to receive the cards! With the help of volunteers from Google, DePaul University and others, we were able to send well OVER 200 cards. Here was our contact’s response:

"Thank you so much for all those beautifully decorated cards and snowflakes! They were absolutely gorgeous and the most wonderful spirit-lifters for all these children at Sandy Hook."

Also, we sent out a set of cards for the classmates of the Boston Marathon bombing victim (1 of the 3 deaths was a child at Neighborhood CharterHouse School). During both of these shipments we learned that there were MANY caring people across the United States. Both parties updated us that they received similar donations from other people and/or groups.

Please reach out to us at info@cardzforkidz.org if you know of any children experiencing tragedy, who may not be on the front page of the newspaper, but who could use uplifting as well. Let’s make this a TEAM EFFORT to reach as many kids as possible!!!

#teameffort #teamwork #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories please check out our Facebook page, facebook.com/cardzforkidz or follow us on Twitter @cardzforkidz

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Every Card Counts!!!

One key distinction with Cardz for Kidz! is that we are TRULY concerned about the kids who can’t leave their rooms due to medical conditions. These conditions or procedures can range from being contagious TO being strapped to the bed due to testing. We make sure each hospital guarantees that the cards will be delivered to the patients’ rooms so that the ones who are stuck can be uplifted as well. Based on that promise EVERY CARD COUNTS….well at least everyone that follows the rule of not writing ‘Get Well Soon’.

Cardz for Kidz! participants range from renowned artists (literally) to some unartistic Accountants….we won’t say any names! NO matter what each card is appreciated.

Here’s a quote from a volunteer who delivers cards:

We’ve come up with a creative strategy when we hand deliver some of the less than world renowned artistic pieces. For example, “Here you go. We have this special card for you. The one thing is that this LARGE company made it and they have some people who are VERY creative then others….not so much. But either way they all made cards for you!”

I’ll never forget the time when I delivered a card to a child after my quote he said “it’s okay! I can tell he tried really hard. THANKS!”

What was eye opening is that this children already knew the saying ‘it’s the thought that counts’!

Based on the appreciation, we keep track of the total amount of cards that are made by each group. Recently we've noted a large increase in the production from universities, but Marketing/Advertising agencies are towards the top as well! Either way as highlighted on the chart below, Independent participants have produced nearly twice as many cards as any other participant.

Therefore even if you’re simply making a card or two in your free time please remember, EVERY CARD COUNTS!

#upliftingspirits #everycardcounts

Check out our Facebook page to see more updates, www.facebook.com/cardzforkidz 
Follow us on Twitter: @cardzforkidz

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

....Happily Ever After!

Our goal at Cardz for Kidz! is to make this process easy and fun for everyone involved!! Over these past few years we’ve learned that this program impacts LOTS of people. We are going to describe a couple of the key “winners” and we’d LOVE to get your opinion.
In your opinion, who do you think benefits the most from this organization’s deliveries to hospitals? 
·         Rushed Participants. People who would love to give back to their communities, but based on their busy lives they do not have time to participate. By participating in these quarterly events they feel AMAZING knowing that they’re able to directly impact the life of a disheartened child.
·         Restored Patients. Often pediatric patients don’t realize that people outside of the hospital are thinking about them or even care for them. These cards make them realize they are special AND cherished rather than weird and forgotten.
·         Relieved Families. Families often feel helpless and discouraged when their attempts to uplift the patients’ spirits are unsuccessful. But they feel encouraged when they see the patients’ smile because someone across the country made them a card to let them know they are special.
·         Reinforced Employees. Often doctors and nurses are rushed between rooms and/or surrounded by children who are crying or silent. Often they will see their patients’ spirits pick up before or after the procedure due to their reward, a handmade card.
·         Resourced Staff. Many of the hospitals with either Child Life and/or Volunteer Resource departments are looking for ways to encourage their kids. These two departments are able to collect the cards and personally watch the children’s spirits brighten up.
·         Rewarded Creators. Cardz for Kidz! staff are the ONLY people who get to see AND experience all the happiness; they interact with all involved.
All of these people are important to us, but what do you think??
Click HERE to vote.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Too Small?? NO Such Thing!!

A quote from a volunteer on Aug 21st:
While thinking about the hundreds or even thousands of patients I've seen while volunteering at pediatric hospitals, its wild that one little guy is still sticking with me days after. 

The majority of my volunteer shift this past Sunday, [August 18, 2013] I stayed and made a rocket ship out of Legos with a little boy who was alone in his room. Since his nurses reached out to the Child Life staff for a volunteer, his name and room number were highlighted and marked as a true priority. This heightened interest for a volunteer was clearly explained when I reached his room. As soon as I started gowning up he looked over, saw me, and with pure excitement waved for me to come in and play. After completing a few pages in the construction instructions the nurses came in and started a procedure to clear his breathing tube. For folks with weak stomachs I won’t get into details. Seeing the fearful look as they walked in, the tears in his eyes as they were doing the procedure, then the pure joy when he got his reward – a hulk mask – for being “so strong” was moving....I almost needed to do pushups to get my man points back. We continued to play with his gift for quite some time. He attempted to put on the mask and made barely audible roaring sounds towards the nurses and I. We all clearly “heard” the noise and each time we continually trembled with fear until he pulled the mask away and showed us it was just him. After a couple terrifying experiences we returned to completing the world renowned rocket ship!

With those types of stories and experiences we've learned that often a little can go a LONG way with these children. But thinking about it, what about the children at small hospitals that don’t have volunteers and who are there by themselves? What about children who are at hospitals that can’t afford to give their patients green hulk masks who’s eyes light up when you push a button on the left side? It’s hard to imagine how the children could recover from painful and scary medical procedures without as much emotional assistance.

Based on our knowledge of those types of situations 
Cardz for Kidz! is going to focus on connecting with smaller hospitals that may not have hulk masks or other fun toys to reward children after painful procedures. Also, we understand that based on their small sizes, at times other large volunteer organizations are not able to connect with children in these hospitals. Currently we’re working with hospitals that range from 15 to 200 pediatric patients and we will continually work with hospitals of ALL sizes.

Thankfully, there is NO such thing as a hospital that’s “too small” to be a part of our program!!  


Friday, September 6, 2013


Based on some of the touching and impacting stories that surround the entire Cardz for Kidz! process we decided to create this blog so we can share new stories, as well as, hear from you on how Cardz for Kidz!  events or deliveries have impacted you!

First, we want to give you some background information on our organization. Cardz for Kidz!  is an organization dedicated to uplifting the spirits of hospitalized and/or traumatized children across the globe by delivering inspiring homemade cards! We connect with companies, organizations, and/or schools and help them host events where participants impact disheartened children around the world by creating encouraging cards. The very first event was held the summer of 2010 where young adults from across the country worked with children to make cards for patients at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s hospital in Chicago. Now, thanks to the help of Grace Aduroja, Ndu Ozor and Veronica Farley-Seybert we submitted all of our 501(c)(3) paperwork in August 2013. In addition, as of September 2013 we’ve partnered with 16 different hospitals in 6 different states, as well as, 1 hospital in Haiti.

No matter how quickly we gain new hospitals or participants we’ll make sure that we stick to 1 of our key criteria; ALL participating hospitals must hand deliver ALL cards room to room. We understand that there are many children who are alone in their rooms and cannot leave their bed due to testing or other painful procedures. Compassionately,  we want to make sure these patients understand that someone IS thinking of them.

Also, here are a few of our other key destinations:
  • Sandy Hook Elementary School, children involved in the school shooting in Newton, CT
  • Neighborhood Charter House School, classmates of a Boston Marathon Bombing Victim
  • DagbĂ©, an organization dedicated to impacting disadvantaged children in Benin, West Africa 
  • One Village, on organization dedicated to reaching orphans in Ghana, West Africa

Thank you for your help in reaching thousands of hospitalized and/or traumatized children across the globe!

#foreverthankful #upliftingspirits