One of the most impactful elements of Child’s Play’s work in recent years has been our grants program. They allow us to help support dozens of non-profit organizations that help children and teens using therapeutic gaming, hugely increasing the reach and effectiveness of our mission. Going forward we are accepting Child Life Tech position and other industry-changing grants in Q1, the deadline being March 15th. These type of grants are our priority, and we think will have the greatest impact on our mission in the long run. We will then accept hospital and clinical equipment grants in Q2, deadline June 15th. Then in Q3, we will accept any grants that missed those deadlines, or any grants that don’t fit into those categories. With this plan, we also changed our one grant per organization per year policy to one grant application per quarterly grant period, with a maximum of two per year.
We’d like to share our 2018 grants with you, to demonstrate how much great work is made possible by your donations.
Game To Grow
Game To Grow shares with Child’s Play a belief that games of all kinds have the power to make a profound positive impact on people’s lives. They use tabletop games to teach young people to become more confident, creative and socially capable. Games like Dungeons & Dragons aren’t just a fun opportunity for players to use their imaginations, they can allow them to learn key social skills such as
- Taking the perspective of others
- Improving their tolerance for being frustrated
- Learning to creatively solve problems
- Communicating and collaborating with others
Tabletop gaming that allows young people to learn these skills without feeling like they’re being taught, providing both structured rules and unpredictable outcomes. The Game To Grow team is passionate about the difference that gaming can make, and we’re proud to facilitate that through our grants program.
Funding Tech Specialist Positions
We’ve spoken before about how much difference gaming and technology specialists can make to the lives of young people in hospitals, and this grant allowed us to fund even more of these specialist positions. Thanks to your donations, Technology Specialists are now being hired to the Child Life departments of:
- Golisano Children’s Hospital of SW Florida
- Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation
- Memorial Medical Center Foundation (Miller Children’s)
- Texas Children’s Hospital
- C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
If you’d like more information about Tech Specialist positions, you can check out this article and accompanying video about the work of the tech specialist at Children’s Hospital Colorado that was hired from our grant last year.
Funding a Medical Director of Child Life at Children’s Hospital Colorado
While the difference that a Child Life Professional can make is huge, they aren’t universally accessible to hospitals around the country, and many medical professionals are unaware of the benefits that a CCLP (Certified Child Life Professional) can provide. It’s crucial in coming years to advance the field of Child Life care by elevating the credibility and visibility of the field, with the aim of making CCLPs a standard part of the care in hospitals.
As one of the leading Child Life departments in the country, Children’s Hospital Colorado were perfectly positioned to partner with Child’s Play to create a unique role to help address these problems. This grant allowed them to hire a Medical Director of Child Life, who works closely with both the department and doctors of other relative disciplines on initiatives to help advance the field. The Medical Director can facilitate child-life research, identify and implement new technologies and lobby for new grants and funding on behalf of the Child Life department.
As well as these larger projects, we also offer numerous smaller grants for equipment purchases for hospitals and care facilities all across the country. We’ve offered 14 grants for new VR equipment, and 10 more for grants to buy items such as consoles, iPads and other devices that can make a stay in the hospital much more bearable.
One notable grant that we were able to provide this year was purchasing a set of MRI goggles for Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara. An MRI scan can take over an hour, which is an arduous experience even for adults. Since MRI machines are powerfully magnetic, traditional entertainment or distraction methods can’t be used. MRI goggles contain no magnetic metals at all, and can display movies or calming apps for patients undergoing an MRI. Due to the specific parts and engineering required, these are very expensive. It was only through your donations that this grant could happen, and young patients undergoing these scans are able to have some relief during the procedure.
All Of These Grants Are Thanks To You
We can’t say it often enough: these grants, and all the good that they do, are only possible thanks to your donations. Every child whose experience in hospital is a little easier thanks to a toy, game, VR headset or the care of a CCLP has you to thank.
You may have noticed that we’re big supporters of Child Life staff here at Child’s Play. They have an enormous impact on the quality-of-life for young people in hospitals, and we strive to support them in any way we can.
Earlier this month, we attended the ACLP (Association of Child Life Professionals) Child Life Conference in Washington DC, which gave us a chance to meet and speak with Child Life Professionals from around the world. This provided us with a great opportunity to share our knowledge about therapeutic uses of gaming and technology. Even better, we were able to meet many international Child Life Professionals who were unaware that our programs extend worldwide and were excited to join our network.
Over the three days of the conference, we gave away 115 XBox 360s to 27 organizations. Every single one of those consoles is going to provide solace, entertainment, and relief to a young person soon, and every single one of them was made possible thanks to donors like you.
Naturally, we also had time to play some games! We’ve spoken often on this blog about how VR can be a wonderful therapeutic tool, but nothing compares to being able to demonstrate this in person. Visitors to our booth were able to engage in lightsaber based dance frivolity with Beat Saber, cause culinary Mayhem in Fruit Ninja VR, and swim underwater with sharks in Shark Cage VR. This was not only a lot of fun, but also gave us the opportunity to explain the impact and potential uses of VR to the people most able to make good use of it.
We also hosted Frank Lovato, Jr. from Equisizer and Leanne Chadwick from Therapeutic Riding Inc. They’re working together with gamestartschool.org to create On The Trail VR, a game that allows children to experience the therapeutic benefits of horse riding without ever needing to leave the hospital.
The Executive Director of Child’s Play, Travis Eriksen, moderated the Technology & Child Life: Visioning the Future panel with GameChanger Charity & ZOTT. The panel helped to illustrate and explain the many different technologies available to help support patients. With applications ranging from education, entertainment, socialization, and pain management, the field can seem overwhelming. This panel gave attendees vital tools to help them analyze current bodies of research and understand the implications that these technologies can have on the well being of patients. Technology is going to provide huge benefits to the Child Life profession in coming years, and this panel invited its attendees to help envision that future.
We teamed up with Game Changer Charity as part of our Gamers Give Back tour to provide a shuttle service for all the Child Life professionals in attendance, letting them see the sights of the National Mall as a thank you for all the work they do to improve the lives of their patients.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth! We’re missing DC already and can’t wait to see you all again next year and share all the developments in therapeutic tech that the intervening months bring. Special thanks, of course, go to our donors, who make our mission possible and give Child Life staff across the world the new tools and knowledge that they need to improve the lives of the children in their care.
Every day, the life of a child is improved immeasurably by the generosity of Child’s Play donors. We recently received a letter from the mother of a patient at Dell Children’s about the impact that our grant program had on her son’s quality of life during a serious illness. She was kind enough to allow us to share that story with you:
“I wanted to send a huge thank you for your company and the service y’all give to sick children.
My 7 year old son was diagnosed with T-cell Leukemia on Christmas Eve and it has been a whirlwind. (He had a pic line until recently and now he has a chest port.)
My son emotionally shuts down at the hospital. Everything has been scary and painful for him. After a few attempts of accessing his chest port, we realized that we couldn’t keep holding him down while he screamed in fear of the access.
One of the workers suggested trying your VR program at the next visit. We were hopeful but unsure if it would help.
BUT it did help. No more screaming. No more holding him down. No more extreme fear. It is almost a complete 180 from before the VR.
I cried!!! This is a beautiful service and my child needed the help so badly so as not to continue to traumatize him further.
Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To help support more programs like this, you can make a reoccuring donation here.