Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I got sunshine, on a cloudy day...

I woke up this morning and once again, it was raining. In fact, I just looked out my office window, and it's still raining. It's that sneaky kind of rain where you have to unfocus your eyes to see it, like you're looking at one of those optical illusion posters. Since the constant rain (and the whole unfocusing my eyes thing) is giving me a headache, I thought I'd look for a little sunshine. 

While posting about the little girl who gave the Yankees player a bracelet the day he hit an inside-the-park home run, I stumbled across the organization who coordinated the visit between the player and the children, Project Sunshine

This is basically a group of over 10,000 volunteers who offer their time, their talents and themselves to children and their families who are coping with serious medical challenges like cancer, HIV/AIDS and other chronic and life-threatening illnesses. These volunteers create the materials and go to the sites (in 100 cities in the US and five around the world) to help children laugh and feel like a kid again, even if it's just for a few hours or an afternoon. 

Children in the program can participate in arts and crafts to help them express their feelings about being sick and in a care facility. Those who love to read can be part of the Book Buddies program where they are paired with volunteers to read books or they can join the book club and meet the authors of the books they read. Volunteers are encouraged to sew Surgi-Dolls, so children can better understand (by coloring and decorating the dolls themselves) the procedures they will have. Even the parents receive some TLC with spa days at the facilities. Parents and caregivers who are relaxed in turn help the children stay relaxed and get better faster. 

Call me a soft touch (and lord knows most charity organizations certainly seem to think so given the amount of mail I get), but this is an organization I really feel like I need to support in some way. Just skimming their website while writing this post made me feel better about life...and ignore the rain falling outside my window. 

(Photo courtesy of Project Sunshine)

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