September Community Initiative of the Month

For the month of September, our Community Initiative of the Month is the Childen's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba and their Child Life Program!

Being a kid can be tough. Being a kid in a hospital can be even tougher. That’s why programs like Child Life are so important. Experts in helping kids cope with uncertainties, Child Life specialists share resources with kids and families to help them manage heightened stress and anxiety and spend time with kids whose families can’t be with them. Because sometimes you’ve just got to play, or sing, or read stories or make crafts. With visitor restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, the personalized, compassionate contact with members of the Child Life team is more important than ever.

We had the opportunity to ask Courtney Nodrick, Campaign & Development Manager at the Children's Hospital Foundation, some questions about the Child Life Program so we could learn more about this imperative program.

Tell us about the Child Life program and why it's so important for kids who find themselves in the hospital. Helping kids stay connected and entertained, the Child Life Program allows kids to enhance their lives while they are in hospital for treatments. The Musical Therapy, Library, and Children's Hospital TV Programs are incredible! All of these programs provide opportunities for kids to forget where they are and immerse themselves in play. The Child Life Program also provides items like tablets, library books, and movies to help kids be kids while in the hospital.

How has the Child Life program become more essential during Covid-19? With visitor restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, the personalized, compassionate contact with members of the Child Life team is more important than ever.

Tell us about Child Life Specialists and what they provide. Music therapy, which may involve playing an instrument, listening to a tune, or writing their own songs as a way to deal with their emotions. You may hear a guitar gently strumming, and a woman’s voice singing. Or the chords of a piano, or a maraca. And – of course – you’ll often hear at least one little-girl voice belting out Frozen’s “Let it Go”.

CHTV, our very own closed-circuit television station. Hosted by NoName, the hardest working sock-puppet in town, the GoodDay Show broadcasts to patient rooms live every weekday and features interactive games and activities, shout-outs to patients, and special guests. Age-appropriate shows and movies are programmed throughout the day, available free of charge.

A playroom, filled with toys, games, electronics, craft/art supplies, and mini-hospital environments where dolls can practice for tests like MRIs before their kids have them. Child Life specialists also bring the playroom experience to kids who can’t leave their rooms and spend time playing with them. This has been very important with COVID-19 restrictions and for kids who need to be in isolation to stay safe.

Two libraries: one that’s a resource for families, to help better understand their child’s illness and injury and provide supports. And the second, which is a wonderland of books and stories for all ages. Kids can borrow books to take to their rooms, or hang out for storytime. Special guests and activities to celebrate birthdays, holidays and special events.

How will the support from the Charity of the Month initiative with Jenna Rae Cakes support the Child Life program? COVID-19 is affecting the ability to raise critical funds to help purchase vital medical equipment, fund life-saving research and offer programs like the Child Life programs that bring comfort to sick children. If at all possible, please consider supporting Jenna Rae Cakes and support our sick kids and all our healthcare heroes during this difficult time.

A portion of sales from all cupcakes at Academy, The Forks and over SkipTheDishes will be donated to the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba Child Life Program throughout the month of September. To learn more about the Children's Hospital Foundation and their Child Life Program, click here.

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