Because we’re givers!
Every year it seems our group is just hankering to use our collective power to reach out to those in need somehow support worthy causes. In the past we’ve collected everything from toiletries for our Veterans (thanks to Garlynn for heading that up!), and the same for missions trips to Puerto Rico (thanks to Dawn!), to donations for Operation Smile (thanks to Lynn!) and Doctors Without Borders (thanks to Alice!)
A few years go I (Laurie) had the pleasure of attending an event where I heard our Maryland’s First Lady, Yumi Hogan, tell her story. As many of you know not long after his inauguration, her husband (our current MD Governor Larry Hogan) was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Over the next few months she spent days upon days by his side at University while he received treatment. While she was there she began to take notice that there were residents at this hospital. Children. She took special note of their quality of life while staying there.
We all know that the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital is a premier hospital in patient care, I am not referring to their medical care but rather their emotional care. Mrs. Hogan became aware that they were children, in a hospital bed, for the long haul and needed something different, or special to occupy their time and minds.
As an artist herself, Mrs. Hogan is aware of what therapeutic benefits the arts can provide for the healthy, she was sure that she could do something with her gift for these children.
Thus Yumi C.A.R.E.S. was born.
Yumi C.A.R.E.S. provides art therapy for those patients and their families while receiving care in area hospitals. There is an on-staff art therapist (her name is Aubrey and she is fabulous!) who works with the patient’s mental health as well as their physical.
They have discovered through this program a wealth of benefit that engaging in this therapy provides. Many children who are non-verbal began to express themselves in ways they had not previously been able. Children tired of T.V. and video games (hard to believe that, huh?!) were able to lose themselves in the creativity that only children can enjoy. We all need a break from daily stress, and these kids are no different, they just aren’t equipped yet with how to process what they are going through or how to communicate about it. Working on art projects gives them the much needed escape from the walls of a hospital room as well as an outlet of expression, opening their minds for healthy therapy sessions.
The mission of Yumi C.A.R.E.S. “reflects First Lady Hogan’s personal views on the importance of art and its therapeutic benefits in assisting the well-being of pediatric patients and their families. “
We at WinterfestMD felt like this was a something that we should get on board with. We are a charitable group for sure, but we are also engaged in our own sense of art and creativity. Scrapbookers of all people understand the importance of getting lost in our creations and memories. WE OF ALL PEOPLE understand how to help.
I have been in touch Aubrey, she first hand sees the not only the needs of her patients but the benefits of having their own opportunity for personal creativity. Read more at the links below about Yumi C.A.R.E.S
HERE’S HOW WE CAN HELP!
At first we thought that we would be able to use the items left on our Swap Table to donate to this program. But Covid has taught us a lot about the need for sanitizing anything brought in to children in this program. New and unused items at this point are just imperative and the only things that they are able to accept from us. (Everything else that we have collected has been donated to Queen Anne’s County Christmas Angels. While primarily their focus is gifts at Christmas time, they give and help a LOT throughout the year. The coordinator, Linda Austin, was ecstatic when I told her about what we had that Yumi C.A.R.E.S. couldn’t use, and explained that art items of any kind, any size would be joyfully welcomed!)
Yumi C.A.R.E.S. the foundation, relies solely on donations, and donated supplies can offset some of the expenses the foundation experiences. Now, as Governor Hogan leaves office at the end of his term, it may be somewhat more difficult for this program to find support without the public presence Yumi had.
Now, after we (FINALLY!) were able to deliver those donations to her (thanks to Dory Zimmerman see some pics at the end!), she has a little better idea of what we do and now we do of what she needs.
As some items can carry germs, and the patient’s environment needs to be sanitized, she has given me a more updated list of the types of things that they could most definitely use. As well as now that the program has grown roots, and the direction of the art therapy is more clearly defined.
Here is an email that I received from Aubrey in January 2023, I’d asked her for a more specific list of items that we might collect for them:
Happy New Year!
First off, regarding the donations, thank you! I know collecting, organizing, and delivering donations takes up a huge amount of time and energy. I appreciate all that you do to support the Yumi CARES Art Therapy program here at UMMC. And yes, I have already seen, unpacked, and organized everything that was donated! It always feels like Christmas when I receive and unbox donations… To answer your question about the applicability of the donations, scrapbooking materials are lovely and can be used in a variety of ways, but our patients infrequently gravitate towards scrapbook papers, stencils, cutouts, etc. I imagine their association with these items may be too specific (i.e.: scrapbook materials are used for making scrapbooks) or structured to encourage free stream-of-consciousness artmaking.
For potential future donations, we most need materials first that are new and unused. For drawing media, we need boxes of colored pencils (these always go first!), fine and broad tip markers, drawing pencil sets with erasers (another love, especially amongst our teens), and crayons. For painting media, watercolor paint sets, acrylic paint sets, and scholastic quality paint brushes are needed. For surfaces, drawing and/or multi-media sketch pads (glue spine over metal spiral to accommodate all patients’ safety needs), and canvas boards (stretched canvases are too large to store in large quantities) are very helpful, as well as coloring books – both simple designs for children and more sophisticated ones for older adolescents, although not too overwhelmingly detailed as to unintentionally increase stress! For sculptural media, individually packaged white model magic is a great love of our patients. Some of these materials would be used in art therapy sessions, including sessions with patients on contact or droplet isolation status when materials must be left with them for sanitary purposes. Given our limited ability to freely give away materials, we greatly rely on donations to provide makeshift art kits for patients that are on droplet or contact isolation status.
Again, I appreciate everything you have done, plan to do, and hope to do for the Yumi CARES Art Therapy program! Without the generosity of outside donors like yourselves, we would have unfulfilled pain points. However, our community has clearly demonstrated a lot of love and support for what we do, so I thank you for being a part of this entire endeavor through your donations. I know our patients and their families greatly appreciate the help you provide. Please reach out to me via email, office number, or mobile anytime with any further questions!
Aubrey Bodt, LCPAT, LCPC, ATR-BC Art Therapist
University of Maryland Children’s Hospital
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO!
*Purchasing or donating from your stock any of the items on her list. Put those Michael’s coupons to good use!
*If you wish to make a financial donation yourself, please make all checks payable to:
” Yumi Cares Foundation, LLC. ” and drop them in the donations box.
If you wish to donate Amazon Gift Card, they are gladly accepted. I will either purchase the items and drop ship them to her or just send them directly to her.
You know I think BIG! So you can also help by sharing with your friends who are scrapbooking in OC that weekend. There are at least 4 crops going on at that time that I know of. I only know how to reach one of them and will do that soon. Let them know what we are doing, what we need and that we will be a collection site for these items. Where possible have the organizers of those events contact me for more information as we can work together for this common cause. I’d love to show a large amount of support to these guys, it’s a new foundation not quite strongly grounded. It would be great to let them know we are on their side and show them love and support
Read more about Yumi C.A.R.E.S at the links below:
If you are interested in accompanying us to deliver our goodies, CONTACT ME DIRECTLY.
HAPPY FESTING! Looking forward to seeing you all in January!