Joe Weilgus, the founder of Project Sunshine, started out as just another college student. One day, he went to visit a friend who was in the hospital. Weilgus noticed that the hospital’s pediatric area was filled with bored and scared children. The next week, Weilgus came back to the hospital dressed in a clown costume to make the children happy. This unique type of companionship proved to be extremely successful for nervous patients and parents. Weilgus went on to spread more joy to other young patients through his volunteering. He also got help from his colleges and other colleges to contribute to the cause as well. Project Sunshine was born in 1999, and opened its first physical location in New York City in the 2000s. After seeing tons of success in America, the company expanded abroad, starting a program in Mombasa, Kenya.
Being a child can be hard sometimes, but it’s even harder if a child is sick or injured. Illness or injury can create feelings of stress and uncertainty for pediatric patients and their families. That’s where Project Sunshine comes in. This organization works together with medical facilities such as hospitals to take care of a young patient’s psychosocial and developmental needs. Project Sunshine features programs that allow pediatric patients to play and participate in activities that spark joy.
Volunteers are trained to provide activities that will delight young children. Project Sunshine’s programs allow children to be creative, social, and learn new things. One program that Project Sunshine does is sending activity kits to its partners to give to patients and their families. These kits have fun activities for children to do and a journal for them to write down notes or thoughts. Activity kit options include basketball, building, and sensory toys.
Project Sunshine also offers local volunteers that play with the pediatric patients. These volunteers wear yellow Project Sunshine t-shirts and have all sorts of goodies for children to have fun with. This is done through the use of programs boxes, which are filled with supplies and materials to help children grow and play. The materials the volunteers bring depends on what program the patient chooses. One of these programs is Creative Arts and Crafts. With this program, the volunteers provide artistic materials to encourage creativity and ingenuity.
Project Sunshine volunteers can also provide a Party Time event for a child. Children and their families are given a place where they can celebrate special occasions and honor traditions, despite being in the hospital. Project Sunshine offers a Caregiver Wellness program as well. This is a program made to help a child’s parents and/or caregivers relax during a stressful time. A special area is created to provide a calming environment for a child’s caregivers. Relaxing activities provided through this program include chair yoga and breathing exercises.
It really doesn’t matter which of Project Sunshine's services you choose. They are all created with the goal of making a visit to the hospital easier for children, and allowing them to have some fun too. Project Sunshine is one of the best nonprofits out there that help children in need. If you want to donate to this worthy cause, click here:https://donate.projectsunshine.org/give/336867/?__hstc=5011244.d4e32f52148985a0fd06d8321921f160.1649252529667.1649252529667.1649254737085.2&__hssc=5011244.4.1649254737085&__hsfp=1458773878&hsutk=d4e32f52148985a0fd06d8321921f160&contentType=standard-page&pageId=53079614102#!/donation/checkout.
Sunshine, P. (2022). Who we are. Project Sunshine. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://projectsunshine.org/who-we-are
Sunshine, P. (2022). Sending sunshine activity kits. Project Sunshine. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://projectsunshine.org/activitykits?hsLang=en
Sunshine, P. (2022). Person volunteers. Project Sunshine. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://projectsunshine.org/in-person?hsLang=en
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