Friday, July 18, 2014

Our Service Project: Art Activity Kits for a Children's Hospital

Service always involves teamwork, and literally dozens of people contributed to this project. This post is dedicated to all of them.

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By throwing a three-hour henna party I needed to provide some kind of entertainment for my guests. Playing "Pin the Wig on the Cancer Patient" and "Chemo Side Effect Charades" seemed inappropriate, and watching the film adaptation of Wit (I love you Emma Thompson!) would have generated too many tears for a celebration.

Thus the idea of a service project was born. After some researching and brainstorming, a plan emerged to donate art activity kits to the UC Davis Children's Hospital in Sacramento.

Below is a slightly modified version of the letter I included when the kits were donated.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Before I explain what can be found in each art activity bag, I would like to explain how supplies were acquired, mostly to give credit to everyone who contributed.
I requested donations from over a dozen local businesses near me. Any donation—no matter how small—would be appreciated. Most informed me to contact corporate headquarters; a few, however, took my letter and pursued the matter themselves.
The first to respond was my local Walmart Neighborhood Market. A few months ago they sponsored a fundraiser for the UCD Children’s Hospital and they were happy to help out again. They donated a large gift bag of supplies.
Another to respond was Raley’s/Bel Air. They provided a gift card, which turned into a grocery bag’s worth of supplies.
All of the rest of the supplies come from the employees and managers of Save Mart Supermarkets. When I spoke to the manager in charge of community service at my local Save Mart, he was inspired by the cause to donate to the children’s hospital. He reached out to his employees and asked if they would be willing to contribute. They did! When I went to pick up supplies he grabbed a shopping cart and said, “Let’s go shopping!” Four filled grocery bags later, I was speechless. A few days later he called me again and said he had more supplies. He contacted a few other managers in the area (including his district manager) and they were also eager to contribute. Wow and wow! This time an entire shopping cart was filled with countless bags! The donations from Save Mart did not come from corporate headquarters, but rather from the generous employees and managers who all wanted to help out.
My friends and relatives assembled the kits during a little shindig I hosted. A few of these guests also contributed art supplies.
Each bag contains a combination of the following:
  o   Coloring book, activity book, or sketchpad
  o   Set of coloring utensils: crayons, markers, pencils, and/or watercolors
  o   One or two: highlighter, pen, pencil, and/or glitter glue stick
A few of the bags also contain:
  o   foam shapes, mini art activity (e.g. painting a ceramic train or plastic “stained glass," stickers, mini sketch pads, and/or book of Sudoku puzzles, crosswords, or word searches
The larger grocery bags contain construction paper, printer paper, leftover supplies, and items that seemed best supervised or distributed by an adult (e.g. beads, glue sticks, scissors, window markers).
I hope the supplies help out and bring a little bit of sunshine to the kids. =)
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The children's hospital was immensely grateful for the donation! The art therapist mentioned that they go through supplies very quickly. My mom, sister, and I were offered a tour of one of the units. The kids were super sweet! Several of them were in the playroom engaged in art activities. One girl showed us her cupcake wrapper flower and a boy had colorful tissue paper "stained glass" hanging from his IV pole. 

For all those who donated and helped assemble art kits, we can assure you the kids will benefit from your kindness. =)

UPDATE: Staples also donated a gift card, which became gel pens and coloring pencils.

We assembled approx. fifty mini-bags and had
four large grocery bags of other art supplies.

With Hannah, the UCD Child Life Art Therapist.


Thank you to Walmart and Raley's/Bel Air for their donations!

A HUGE THANKS to the employees and managers of Save Mart Supermarkets!

Thank you to my henna guests for organizing the art activity kits, and to my sister for hosting the party at her house.

Extra thanks to my mom for driving me around to pick up donations and grub for the party.

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If you haven't already, check out my "Donate to Others" page at the top of this blog to continue the tradition of giving.

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