Insights on business -- and life.
Helping sick kids through crafts.
by Staff Report (February 19, 2007)
Many people may not know or even think about what it is like to
spend a day in the life of a sick child in hospital. When Maryann
Corey was considering starting an art program for children, she
thought about those hospitalized children, and has maintained that
focus for the past five years with The Portable Playhouse Inc., a
beading program run exclusively in hospitals.
Thanks to The Portable Playhouse, hospital-certified volunteers
visit hospitals once a week to sit with children at their bedside
and make beaded jewelry. Each child, regardless of his/her physical
condition or limitations, is encouraged to participate in the design
and creation of a beaded item. Working in their rooms one-on-one
with each child, the volunteers create a fun, relaxed environment
that reduces stress and gives the child a sense of empowerment,
control, and choice.
Parents can grab a well-earned break while their child is
engrossed in designing bracelets, necklaces, key chains, and other
jewelry items. The child becomes so relaxed and completely unfocused
on their illness as they choose colors and patterns. Each one
becomes a jewelry designer, right there in their hospital bed.
Smiles are the only payment accepted and once the bead box is open,
these are not hard to come by!
The Portable Playhouse currently takes its beading program to
nine hospitals in New Jersey, and many more hospitals have requested
its program but await sponsorship. Maryann Corey, the co-founder and
driving force behind the organization, has also been approached by
women’s cancer treatment centers. The women love making jewelry,
which helps to fill those long hours spent in hospital. Corey
recently piloted a program at the Carol G Simon Cancer Center at
Morristown Memorial Hospital and now that funding has been secured
for the Center, the program went "live" there on Valentine’s
The Portable Playhouse's mission is to expand its services to all
children’s hospitals and women’s centers across the country. As
a nonprofit corporation, it is dependent on sponsoring organizations
to support individual hospitals. A list of hospitals waiting for
sponsorship is posted on The Portable Playhouse website www.theportableplayhouse.org.
Fundraisers are held throughout the year, and recently The
Portable Playhouse held a Silent Auction at The Pop International
Gallery in New York City. This fundraiser was successful in
obtaining funds to sponsor two New York hospitals, St Luke’s and
Mount Sinai. Fox 5 News, radio station Z100, and ABC News have
featured The Portable Playhouse, which gave well-needed exposure to
help recruit more volunteers and of course, attract much needed
sponsorship. For more information, visit www.theportableplayhouse.org
or call Maryann at 732-826-1392.
(Note: To read previous entries in Kate's Collage, click
on the titles in the right-hand column.)