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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

enCourage Kids Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Health, Patient & Family Support

Mission: enCourage Kids Foundation helps humanize healthcare for children and their families by resourcing impact-driven pediatric programs and supporting the Child Life Community.

Results: 34 years ago, enCourage Kids opened its doors and hearts to children battling chronic, serious, or life threatening illnesses and injuries. By bringing laughter, comfort, and joy to more than 400,000 children annually, our programs offer relief from the constant burden of treatment, hospital stays, and doctor appointments, and help pediatric facilities to meet the unique needs of their patients. We have built a strong relationship with more than 200 hospital partners in 39 states and Puerto Rico. In total, we have awarded over $15.1 million in funds to support nearly 850 Child Life projects.

Target demographics: 3 million children are hospitalized every year in the United States. And enCourage Kids is on a mission to help every single one.

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 400,000 children and their families

Geographic areas served: United States and Puerto Rico

Programs: Typically not covered by hospital budgets, our programs are critical in improving the emotional well-being of pediatric patients, leading to faster recovery times and reduced feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Our hospital programs include clown and music sessions and hospital parties to lift the spirits of patients, sending Bears to use as a cuddly companion and invaluable tool for medical play, providing Tablets customized to the needs of the hospitals, and our Pediatric Hospital Support Program to provide vital funding to our hospital partners. enCourage Kids envision a world where every child - regardless of the difficulty of his or her medical journey - experiences joy, hope, resilience, and healing.

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We can't say enough great things about how enCourage Kids has helped child life programs for so many years. In every hospital I have had the honor to serve children, enCourage has been there to help us financially to get the things that nourish and support children who are struggling with illness and hospitalization. They work tirelessly through the year to make these gifts possible. Thanks so much enCourage, for all you have done and will continue to do!

The Child Life Team at Stony Brook Children's.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Throughout my entire child life career I have been fortunate to know the folks at enCourage Kids! Countless hospitalized children have benefited from their tireless dedication to helping child life teams improve environments, plan special events, add special complimentary staffing and stock playrooms with toys and technology. These folks are the real thing. They understand that sick children need all kinds of medicine, including toys and laughter and play. I don't know of a hospital serving children in the New York metropolitan area that hasn't been supported in some way by this wonderful foundation.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The encourage Kids Foundation has helped the Child Life program at Maimonides support countless hospitalized children and those in outpatient treatment battling life-threatening or chronic illnesses. At the outpatient Cancer Center we would have not been able to provide our patients and families with the celebrations and festivities, which we as health care professionals think are so important to support the family and patient through an often devastating time. The team at EnCourage Kids understands the need for children with long-term illnesses to be encouraged to still be children. They have provided our clinic with the most talented entertainers like clowns or musicians who visit our clinic regularly and have all brought smiles to our kids faces. They have supported events like our annual Back to school party, or holiday party to help many of our children and families celebrate. All team members at the foundation I have come into contact with have been extremely compassionate and have tried their hardest to support a request for a patient or event. Our Child Life team is very grateful to be supported by the EnCourage Kids Foundation.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

enCourage Kids Foundation has been a wonderful asset to support my day to day work as a child life specialist in a pediatric emergency department. It is my role to normalize hospitalization and provide developmental support and appropriate play opportunities for children facing trauma. enCourage Kids provides things such as bears for our trauma patients to hold during a difficult procedure, game systems for children facing long and overwhelming hospital stays, and so much more. It is so important that these children and families have support and resources during such difficult and trying times and enCourage Kids Foundation helps us do just that.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

enCourage Kids Foundation has helped put many smiles on our young patients' faces! The staff members at enCourage Kids are amazing - they're always there to communicate with and encourage us to find wonderful gifts and opportunities for our kids. The children absolutely love the gifts, the Hero of The Month Awards, and the other donations and opportunities that encourage Kids makes possible. We are so thankful for this organization, and extremely happy to work together to add joy to children's hospital experiences.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

For over twenty years encourage kids foundation has helped support our hospital with the resources to help make hospitalization a better experience for children and families.

Through the provision of entertainers such as clowns and magicians on a weekly basis and also for parties, children and families were able to allow themselves some time to just have fun and take their minds off treatment and illness.

EnCourage Kids has also provided us with endless amounts of toys, books, teddy bears. These gifts not only help us acknowledge birthdays and holidays that unfortunately families have to spend in the hospital, but they also help acknowledge the bravery and courage of children who undergo the most intrusive and painful medical procedures and experiences.

The items encourage Kids can't provide upon request, they allow us to request through grant proposals. Our Child Life Program relies on the encourage Kids Foundation's grants to purchase materials for our playrooms and hospital to enhance the patient and families experience.

Through enCourage Kids support, Child life Specialists are partners in improving the lives of children and families undergoing medical treatment. By anticipating our needs and providing us with the support we need, Encourage Kids allows families to focus on what is most important to them-supporting and taking care of their children!

Thank you enCourage Kids for being only a phone call away whenever we need you! Thank you for not only encouraging our families to stay strong but for encouraging and empowering Child life professionals that they can make a difference!

Lenia Batas
Maimonides Medical Center
Brooklyn, New York

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

What would we do without enCourage Kids?? They are responsible for bringing so many smiles to our children and families! The tablet program was ahead of its time, and the clinical and psychological benefits cannot be understated. The bears provide comfort through a difficult experience, and the entertainer visits they sponsor are something the children continually look forward to. The Hospital Support Program is unlike anything else out there and allows us to provide exactly what our hospital most needs to best serve our kids.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

The bear program is one of my favorite ways to go give. I love the unique ways that the foundation helps hospitals and sick kids.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Incredible organization. They have all of the power and effectiveness of a large operation and the warmth of a very small one. No one on their staff is removed from the mission and everyone is hands on about delivering the best experiences possible for the kids.

They retain volunteers because the volunteer corp feels like a family. It's amazing to get to meet these families and get to know the kids and watch them grow. Even when things are hard the kids are able to come to Encourage Kids events and hang out with other kids and volunteers who know what they're going through. It's a short-hand that's built through years and years of trust built between staff, volunteers, and families- and it's incredible to witness and be a part of.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the Board of enCourage Kids Foundation for over 30 years. The programs supported by enCourage, from the Escapes program that allows our kids and their families to enjoy some time away from their challenging situation, to the Pediatric Hospital Support Program that funds critical child life needs at dozens of hospitals, are all focused at Changing Lives One Smile at a Time! Please help us to continue the programs that make such a difference and allow our kids to Smile!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

How do you rate a non profit organization that hands down does it totally right? Well, look no further than Encourage Kids Foundation. From giving children happiness through different events ,camps ,holiday parties and various fundraising, Encourage Kids Foundation incorporates the true rewards of giving,which is reciprocated through the children's smiles as they experience Santa Claus,accomplish various tasks at camp ,meet people who genuinely care and put their total heart into all they do. Every one of their volunteers are special ,caring and helpful people that are truly a gift not only to the organization but to those they serve as well!

3 Angelae

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The enCourage Kids Foundation holds a special place in my heart. The kids, the families, the staff, the leadership...the moments in life that take your breath away. It's such an amazing rewarding feeling volunteering with enCourage Kids. I am so blessed to have 3 amazing children and I bring my son along to volunteer sometimes and he loves it also. The events for the kids & their families, the opportunities for people to volunteer & the greater enCourage Kids Foundation family formed...PRICELESS. One of my favorite quotes..."You have not truly lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The staff is very attentive and takes the needs of child life programs into consideration when developing new initiatives or services. I am excited to continue working with Michele Hall-Duncan and her team as they grow Encourage Kids Foundation to advance the psycho-social and family centered care of pediatric patients.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EnCourage Kids is a state of the art nonprofit that is highly attuned to the psychosocial needs of children living with serious illnesses and conditions. They focus particularly on the resilience of these children and families and are a lifeline to Child Life Departments within children's hospitals. Because of EnCourage Kids we are able to offer quality programming to thousands of hospitalized patients each year.

Diane Rode, Director
Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department
The Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Without Starlight's support of pediatric hospitals throughout the DC area and surrounding states - and the country - and overseas - I can't imagine how we could afford all the important programs they provide for hospitalized kids. Thank you Starlight.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wow, what can I say about Starlight? There is absolutely nothing better. This organization has brought so much joy to our family when going through a very difficult time. My daughter, age 5, was diagnosed with Leukemia the day after I had twin boys and I also had a 20 month old. Needless to say our lives were thrown into turmoil. The emotional and financial and medical demands overwhelmed all of us and it was the most difficult time in our lives. A friend at the clinic where my daughter was treated told me about Starlight.

I can honestly say we hardly left the house for 3 years because of medical appt's and my twins being so young. When we began to experience all the fun and amazing opportunities that Starlight offered our family life became fun and our kids were smiling and laughing more often. From the movies to broadway shows, to apple picking and Great Adventure we were simply amazed at being able to participate in all of them. We are so grateful to this organization and so appreciate all that we have been able to do and all the staff who have shown such kindness to us. We thank you with all of our hearts.

The Ryan Family