Comforting Kids in Hospitals
You may know Guideposts as a publisher of inspiring books and magazines but we are also much more. We reach out to provide support, inspiration and hope through outreach efforts like our Guideposts for Kids Comfort Kits program. Guideposts brightens the lives of sick kids by giving 20,000 Comfort Kits each year—boxes of love, filled with special items designed to bring reassurance and comfort to children during their stay in the hospital. Above, Rhonda Neal, Manager of Guideposts Outreach Services gives out Comfort Kits at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Janice Baker, Coordinator of Arts and Healing at New Haven shared, "It was a wonderful event by Guideposts that nourished our bodies as well as our spirits."
Comfort in a Box
Guideposts Outreach launched Guideposts for Kids Comfort Kits in 2006 responding to the need of hospital chaplains to comfort and connect with children in the midst of health crises. Working closely with many professionals, Comfort Kit care packages were specifically designed to bring hope, spiritual reassurance and smiles. Each Guideposts for Kids Comfort Kit is lovingly packed with a cuddly stuffed star named Sparkle, an “I’m Special” bracelet, stickers, a stress ball, crayons, a parent feedback card, a stand up prayer card, a personalized name tag to mount on the wall—and best of all, a special journal to help them work through the complex emotions that illness and injury bring about. Tested extensively and proven effective, Comfort Kits are small care packages helping sick kids, ages 5 to 10, feel less frightened and anxious about their surroundings and medical treatments and help them feel special and loved.
Helping Kids and Parents Through Worry
Char Magdits and her daughter Ella, modeling the stickers in the kit, have been through a lot. At age four Ella struggled to breathe. Her parents rushed her to the hospital. While they worried waiting for a diagnosis, Hospital Chaplain Anna Gentile arrived with a bright blue box and told Ella it was a present just for her. Ella's eyes brightened and a smile spread across her face. The Magdits felt their tension ease as Ella explored the contents of the Comfort Kit. "Receiving the Comfort Kit was delightful," Char Magdits said, "It helped distract her, and it was a comfort to us too."
Sparkle Lights Up the Hospitals
Guideposts for Kids Comfort Kits and its loving mascot, Sparkle the Caring Star, light up hospitals all over the country. Each year they cover thousands of miles traveling to the medical centers where they are now being used, to bring smiles and God's love. Since its inception Guideposts has distributed over 144,000 Comfort Kits to 531 hospitals in 48 states. Virginia Roberts, RN of Harlan Appalachian Regional Healthcare in Kentucky writes, "Thank you for the Comfort Kits for our pediatric patients. They are a big hit not only with the patients but the nurses enjoy seeing the delight in the eyes of not only the patient but of the parents too. We thank you so much for providing this ministry. GOD Bless!”
Partnering with Other Organizations
Guideposts For Kids Comfort Kit partnerships play a vital role in our success. Each year as more partners join our team, we are able to extend our reach and touch the lives of additional children who are hospitalized. Johnathan Ward, Staff Chaplain at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding tells us, "a mother shared with me the other day, how much her son loved his 'prayer kit' and that he takes it everywhere he goes... Thanks again to Guideposts for making the Comfort Kits available to the patients we serve at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta."
Having Fun on Kid Appreciation Day!
This year Guideposts partnered with hospitals to bring the Comfort Kit Ministry directly to the children we serve in our Kids Appreciation Day celebrations. As nurses and doctors care for young kids health, it is our hope that the Comfort Kits heal their spirits. Earlier this summer the Comfort Kit team held a party for patients and their families at Phoenix Children’s Hospital featuring all sorts of goodies, games, and of course, Comfort Kits and Sparkle!
Heartfelt Thanks for Making a Difference
Children and their parents often share how Comfort Kits helped them get through a difficult time, like the note we received from Isabella above. And hospital staff often reach out to let us know we're making a difference. "I know I speak for the Child Life Staff as well as the patients here at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, when I say 'We love them!' They will be used in many area’s such as Inpatient, Radiology, Surgery, Hematology, Oncology as well as the Emergency Department. We are so excited to be working with such a generous organization such as Guideposts and look forward to working with you in the future." - Erin Pitchure and the Child Life Staff
Help Us Bring Comfort to All Kids in Hospitals
It is our goal that every hospitalized child in need of comfort and support receives a Guideposts for Kids Comfort Kit packed with God's love. To learn how you can help grow our family tree and reach out to help the lives of children and their families in need, click here.