Colin’s Joy Project Celebrates Giving Week for Boston Medical Center’s Child Life Program

July 22nd is the start of “Giving Week” for Colin’s Joy Project. CJP has partnered with the Child Life Program at Boston Medical Center to put together an Amazon Wish List of items that BMC can use to help the children that walk through their doors, whether it be for a scheduled procedure or because of an accident, like Colin and Sloane McGrath.

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The Child Life Program at BMC was instrumental in helping Sloane, and the McGrath family, navigate through those tough days following the accident that took Colin’s life on July 25th of last year. Sloane spent the week of July 25th- 29th in the hospital undergoing several procedures and trying to recover from both the accident and the loss of her brother. Kerri and Brendan McGrath thought it would be fitting to honor the group that got them through the worst days of their lives last year, as well as to pay tribute to Colin and honor the journey that Sloane went through in order to achieve recovery. Thus, “Giving Week” is meant to celebrate the amazing Child Life Team at Boston Medical Center as well as to ensure there are supplies to help future children who are patients at BMC as well.

A little bit about the Child Life Program at Boston Medical Center..

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Although they are a small team (one of the smallest of any of the Boston area hospitals) they are mighty; the 5-member Child Life Specialist Team at BMC works hard day in and day out to ensure that the children who are treated there are more than just patients; they’re kids. They work in a variety of hospital departments, from the ER and ambulatory care to radiology, inpatient care and the OR. No matter what department a child is in, or what stage they’re at in their care, a Child Life Specialist is there to help guide them through it. 

The Child life specialists make a big difference for kids and their families.

Their goal is to empower kids and their families to understand their medical experience in order to promote coping skills. They work with both pediatric patients and their families to teach them about procedures, to help them understand new diagnoses and medicine regiments, to better comprehend things like stitches and anesthesiology, and overall just be a friendly face and a listening ear for what could potentially be a very traumatic time in a child’s life.

All of the Child Life Specialists (CCLS) at BMC hold Master’s Degrees and have gone through extensive training and a lengthy internship program in order to learn how to best help their patients. They collaborate with one another to make sure children are supported as they transition to different departments within the hospital, but most of all, they ensure that the patients know that they’re more than just information on a chart; they’re a child, and they’re encouraged to explore and have fun even within the confines of the hospital walls. The CCLS know that children learn best through interactive play, and so they use play as a tool to help them learn about and cope with their medical journey.

What is “Giving Week” and how can you help?

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When Sloane was recovering from the accident, the Child Life Program brought her several items to help put a smile on her face; a new backpack that she still uses today, some sparkly nail polish, new toys, and more. In addition to working with Kerri and Brendan to give them the tools they needed to be able to talk to Sloane about the accident and what happened to her brother, they were with Sloane every step of the way, from easing her fears about surgery and blood draws to helping her transition home and assisting the McGrath family to begin their grieving process.

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While the Child Life Program does operate on a budget, it’s a small one, and so they rely on donations to provide a lot of the items that they use to help the children at BMC (like Sloane’s backpack and nail polish). So on this one year anniversary of the accident, Kerri and Brendan are hoping that you will spread joy in Colin’s name and honor Sloane’s journey by donating to the Child Life Program at Boston Medical Center. They’ve partnered with Colin’s Joy Project to create an Amazon Wish List of items that will help future patients feel more like kids, and ease their fears of the hospital so they can focus on their recovery.

The Amazon Wish List can be found HERE. No donation is too big or too small, as long as it’s shared with joy.