Oct 20, 2020

Essential to the Kids

Enjoying CHAP In a Box at Home
Enjoying CHAP In a Box at Home

Sharon, the Lead Teaching Artist for CHAP, was recently social-distance visiting with a family that participated in CHAP's art-making programs for several years. She originally met them years earlier when the son had been in the hospital for quite some time. While the young son was hospitalized, CHAP would come to the community playroom every week, bringing colorful and imaginative art supplies for all the children to enjoy. He looked forward to and loved these art-making sessions.

During this recent visit with the family, they asked Sharon about CHAP's current partnership with the hospitals, given the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharon explained that, for everyone's safety, the hospitals had all temporarily suspended CHAP's weekly in-person visits. She added that the hospitals were continually evaluating CHAP's status and that right now, only essential workers were being allowed in the hospitals to care for the children. The young man thought about this for a moment and then said to Sharon, "But you are essential...to the kids." Sharon smiled. She knew exactly what he meant.

Since mid-March 2020, CHAP has been understandably unable to bring our healing art programs to Portland area hospitals due to the on-going pandemic. CHAP also had to temporarily close our beloved art studio on Portland, which has meant that no children or volunteers have been able to enjoy that joyous space with us for over 7 months. 

So, CHAP got creative! We immediately began posting art-making ideas on social media platforms, switched in-person monthly Art Club to weekly online Art Clubs, completely re-structured the Inclusive Summer Art Workshops to take place via Zoom instead of in-person, and began providing free Healing Art Care Packages full of art supplies to hospitals to give to the children and families in their care. CHAP also continues to send free CHAP In a Box deliveries of art supplies to families outside the Portland-metro area every quarter.

CHAP believes in the healing power of art -- and we could all use some healing during these challenging times. We're constantly exploring new ways to deliver on our mission and to make a difference in the lives of children and families facing medical issues. When it is safe to do so, CHAP plans to return to our weekly in-person visits with the hospitalized children and to re-open our studio. Until then, CHAP will continue to make as many healing art experience happen as possible in any way we can.

Wishing you JOY, CREATIVITY, & HEALING.

Just Got the Latest CHAP In A Box Delivery
Just Got the Latest CHAP In A Box Delivery
The Joy of Making Art
The Joy of Making Art

Links:

Jun 19, 2020

Leaving the Hospital with a Hug

Now on staff, she had volunteered with CHAP years ago. Around the holidays, she got to work with a 4-year old child and her parents at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital, bringing them fun, engaging art projects to enjoy each week to brighten their days. While new to this CHAP Teaching Artist, the child was a familiar face on that floor of Doernbecher. She had been mostly in - and occasionally out - of the hospital throughout 2019. Strong relationships had developed by this point in the family's hospital journey.

Late one Friday afternoon, the CHAP Teaching Artist was honored to witness this 4-year old child ringing the bell at that floor's Nurses’ Station. This tradition has become a sweet ritual for children to mark their last chemotherapy session. The nurses all gather around. Family and friends attend the celebration. It’s very moving and poignant. It fills the unit with hope. There is a song that the nurses all know. Copies of the lyrics are circulated among the crowd so everyone can join in. Depending on the age of the chemo graduate, sometimes there is confetti thrown, and sometimes there are bubbles blown. Picture men, women, and children of all ages - some bald, some with I.V. poles.  Most are standing - though a few are seated in wheelchairs or perched on their crutches.

The CHAP Teaching Artist observes this moment from the back row, not knowing this family especially well. The sweet song finishes and the young girl is lifted up to ring the bell that is mounted high on the wall. This starts a chain of hugs - from the family to the dedicated and wonderful staff, from the graduating family to those fellow patients who are still in the midst of their treatment. 

In all of this, guess who the little girl sees down the hallway? The Teaching Artist from CHAP. The child bursts out with glee, “The Paint Lady!” as she makes a beeline through the crowd to her. She is sure that it was the colorful CHAP T-shirt that all the Teaching Artists wear that triggered this incredible and touching reaction. She received the embrace from the child on behalf of CHAP, knowing that she was representing this little gift that had been bestowed on this child through CHAP’s efforts. It was the healing power of art that CHAP had made available to this remarkable family for over 13 months. 

The Teaching Artist’s face was new, but CHAP was an old friend.  

This wonderful experience is an illustration of the impact that CHAP and the healing power of art have on hospitalized children and their families. Since mid-March 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible for CHAP Teaching Artists and dedicated volunteers to visit area hospitals. 

So, CHAP did what CHAP does best and got creative! When Teaching Artists couldn't visit the hospitalized children in person, CHAP offered sanitizable bags full of colorful, engaging art supplies to the hospitals for the children to use in their rooms. When in-person Art Clubs for children with medical issues couldn't take place in our art studio, CHAP started offering Art Clubs via Zoom. CHAP also now sends encouraging ecards to children still in the hospitals; still mails free art supplies to families who live far from CHAP through the CHAP In a Box program; and posts creative art-making ideas on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for all to enjoy using items found around the house. 

Everyone at CHAP loves the new ways of providing the healing power of art during this pandemic...but we definitely look forward to being able to put on our colorful CHAP T-shirts and roll the art carts full of art supplies through the hospital halls to visit the children and families once again. And maybe even get a surprise hug from a child whose time in the hospital was made a little brighter through art.

Links:

Feb 24, 2020

'Anything with Art is Possible at CHAP'

Mia and her Family
Mia and her Family

Nine-year-old Mia loves Children's Healing Art Project (CHAP). "Anything is possible at CHAP. It's just one of the best places on earth," she announces.

Mia was introduced to CHAP through Shriners Hospital for Children where she goes for recreational therapy. Mia was instantly excited and inspired by the openness and endless creative outlets that CHAP provides each person. Whether she attends monthly Art Workshops at CHAP in her wheelchair or standing on her own, Mia always knows that she is accepted and included for exactly who she is. At CHAP, children are known for their creativity and ingenuity -- not by their disease, diagnosis, or disability. To kids like Mia, that means everything.

Mia's mom, Bethany, and her grandmother, Mary, agree 100%. As Bethany says, "I love how CHAP includes everybody, and meets them where they're at." In CHAP's art studio, Mia and her whole family can put aside the challenges of living with a chronic illness to focus on art, creativity, friends, family connections, and finding joy during otherwise difficult times. 

In 2019, CHAP facilitated 10,401 healing art experiences for children and families at local hospitals, in our Portland art studio, at outreach events, and through CHAP In a Box home deliveries of inspirational art supplies. Each one of those 10,000+ free healing art experiences is a personalized, one-on-one interaction between CHAP staff or dedicated volunteer and a child or family member facing medical challenges. Each and every connection is as unique as the glittery, colorful, joyful art that is created together.

Mia at Art Workshops
Mia at Art Workshops
Mia and her Doll Grace
Mia and her Doll Grace

Links:

 
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