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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Discovery Arts

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Services, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Performing Arts

Mission: Discovery Arts brings music, art, dance and drama to children with cancer and life threatening illness while they are in the hospital receiving treatment. All of our programs and services are completely free of charge for the hospitals, patients and their families.

Results: Discovery Arts was created in 1993 by a group of dedicated arts and entertainment industry professionals who began volunteering their time and talents to bring dance, music, drama and art to children with cancer and serious blood disorders during their hospital stay. For the first several years, Discovery Arts worked informally with the children hospitalized at Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Millers. Based upon the success of our programs and the positive responses from the medical staff, the children and their families, Discovery Arts was formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency in 1998 with a mission to expand the delivery of these experiences to many more children in hospitals throughout Southern California. All of our programs are offered free of charge to the hospitals, patients and families. With support from individuals, corporations, foundations, a committed circle of monthly donors and an enthusiastic corps of volunteers, Discovery Arts now provides Arts Adventures programs to more than 3,500 critically ill children each year. We currently deliver our "Arts Adventures" to the children at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, Millers Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Millers, CHOC Children's Hospital, Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, CHOC at Mission and at Mercy Children's Hospital in Springfield, Mo.

Target demographics: Bring Music, Art, Dance and Drama to children with cancer and life threatening illness while they are in the hospital receiving treatment.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 3,500 children and their families.

Geographic areas served: USA

Programs: our "Arts Adventures" for hospitalized children we bring music, art, dance and drama to children with cancer and life threatening illness while they are in the hospital receiving treatment. All of our programs and services are free of charge to the hospitals, patients and their families.

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Gloria27

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the great pleasure of being an older adult volunteer for Discovery Arts. This program in its unique way brings the best medicine known to man, love and laughter. Watching these ladies teach these special children the art of song, dance and creative abilities is a blessing in itself. To see these children come to the play room with beaming faces waiting for the special surprises for the day. The beautiful new costumes that are given to each child to keep, the special trophies awarded to each one for participating, hearing their little voices belt out a tune over a kareoke machine, or slip on a tap shoe to make noise on the tile floor. I cannot imagine anyone turning their back on donating to this very special program for children with cancer and other blood disorders. Take a moment to go on-line and meet Marilyn Clements and Nancy Marshall, the backbone of this wonderful program.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Discovery Arts since the beginning of the organization. They are the most compassionate group of people and have an amazing amount of joy and love to share with the children in the hospitals who need it most. They have been praised by doctors, nurses, administrators, parents and of course, the patients who they have served over the years.

There is no better organization doing this work.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Discovery Arts stands side-by-side with pediatric cancer patients on a daily basis, offering them joy & hope in the midst of hopelessness and confusion. Patients and families often acknowledge Discovery Arts as the one thing they looked forward to during the most difficult season of their lives. Some patients have gone so far as to say that Discovery Arts was the reason they won their battle with cancer. That is noteworthy, and that is why my wife & I are long time supporters of Discovery Arts.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Being a volunteer for Discovery Arts has positively impacted my recent move to the west coast. While working under the guidance of Marilyn Clements she has shown me that love, passion, and a thriving heart can uplift so many children and adults who are undergoing an unfortunate time in their lives. Discovery Arts gives children a moment to utilize their creative expression using hands on materials. When a child enters the Discovery Arts room they are embraced with flourishing smiles and lively energy which lets medicine and needles to be forgotten about for a moment in time. Through my time as a volunteer, I have heard parents and children say that they wish they could come to Discovery Arts every day. The founders of Discovery Arts are skilled in understanding the individual needs of each child. It is the continuous fundraising, innovation and a genuine love that has made such a successful program. I am proud to be a Volunteer for Discovery Arts!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I can't think of a greater tragedy encountered throughout our life's journey than to discover our child, or one close to us, has encountered cancer or other life threatening disease. To date, I have been spared that horrific circumstance, but have been privileged to become involved in an organization that helps children and their parents when they in fact DO enter that dark world. One aspect of Discovery Arts that is often forgotten in our sole focus on the needs of the afflicted child is the incredible blessing it is to the parents of these children. As parents, they would take on the child's pain and suffering if they could without a moment's hesitation, but instead they are forced to sit back helplessly, and all they can do is wipe their child's tears. When Discover Arts visits, the parents get the opportunity to see their child laughing...playing...without the needles in their arms, and the desperate pain they experience night and day temporarily taken away. The children are greatly helped by this beautiful organization, but we should always remember that their parents suffer with them, and through DA they get the momentary chance to rejoice at seeing their child's smiles and hearing their laughter.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I cannot begin to tell you about the work that this nonprofit organization is doing with and for very sick hospitalized children. What you see with Discovery Arts is very heartwarming and an incredible lift for the patients, as well as the patient families. It adds another dimension to the hospital setting that is very healing and brings some joy and normalcy to a very difficult situation. Discovery Arts has become very important to the children and their families. Having a child diagnosed with cancer is a journey through hell and having Discovery Arts there on a regular basis, to give the children something to look forward to and to rely on, makes a big difference. Bravo to all of you for your fine work!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sarah was diagnosed at 14 months old with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She spent 26 months in treatment only to relapse 11 days later with a rare leukemic infiltrate in the iris of her eye. Sarah would go through another rigorous 28 months of chemo and radiation therapy. With painful treatments and days on end spent in the hospital, Sarah looked forward to Wednesdays knowing that Discovery Arts would be there welcoming her with a costume an fun things to do.
When Sarah was at her lowest Discovery Arts would nurture her spirit and encourage the artist within her. She would sing and dance enjoying each moment with the incredible loving members of Discovery Arts.
Sarah had less than a 40% chance of survival and we believe that the positive energy and healing properties of the arts helped Sarah to win her battle with cancer. The joy they brought her and us is priceless. They were integral in Sarah's recovery and because of their love and encouragement 9 years later Sarah is cancer free and continues to perform as both a ballerina with Southland Ballet Academy / Festival Ballet Theater and as a singer. Thank you Marilyn and friends for loving us and caring enough to help children like Sarah, your legacy lives on through these incredible children.
Wendy, Howard, & Sarah Grant

1 Michelle155

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter was diagnosed with an adult-form of leukemia when she was 22 mos old. We had a 3 yr old daughter at the time to care for as well. The volunteers at Discovery Arts brought a lot of joy into our month-long hospital stays (for over 6 months!)...coming every Thursday with costumes, face paint, craft projects, music and big, bright smiles!! Jillian would dance and sing and play her little heart out, making everyone forget about her cancer for a little while. My other daughter was treated so special each time she would enter the playroom with Jillian. One day, Both if the girls were given brand new tap shoes because they showed an interest in them...they still have them (5 years later)! Jillian's closet was FULL of dress up outfits from the time she spent with Discovery Arts...so many projects and photos adorn my house--reminders of the positives of living in the hospital. The love Discovery Arts volunteers give freely and enthusiastically to children with cancer and their families is beyond measure!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Spent December of 2003 in Miller Children's hospital when my son had his 1st brain tumor surgery. Every day was physical therapy and occupational therapy and speech therapy, mandatory school work, nasty medications, needle pokes and IV woes - and most days Yay! a fun Discovery Arts project appropriate to a 5 year old with limited fine motor skills. Ten years out we still put on the Christmas hats he made, his art decorates our tree and we are reminded that we often had a ball in the middle of all that trauma. For a few years Miller Children's was almost a second home. Discovery Arts was a vital part of making hospital stays positive, happy experiences. One of my most precious possessions is tiny sculpture of our family made by another patient in for his chemo. My son is well and happy now - thanks to the great care he got at Miller Children's hospital and thanks to the wonderful art therapy of Discovery Arts.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was exposed to Discovery Arts for the first time in April of 2012, when I visited their program at Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach, CA. My first impression was of how passionate and involved the Executive Director and Program Director were with the Discovery Arts mission. They both are hands on, they know the hospital staff, the patients who participate and even their families! It's amazing to see the children who are able to join the Discovery Arts team in the playroom be filled with joy and full of heart in the middle of such a scary and serious time in their lives. The difference Discovery Arts makes in these children's lives and their families lives is forever life changing and deserves to be highly commended.

1 Stephanie44

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for Discovery Arts for a few years now, and I can't say enough about them. I help out in the office where they organize costumes, plan hospital activities and projects, and put together art bedside boxes for the children. So much thought, caring, and heart goes into everything they do. Not one detail is missed when preparing to bring light to an otherwise dismal situation for the children. They make sure each child gets a unique and artful experience at Discovery Arts.
I also volunteer at the hospital with Discovery Arts where I facilitate art projects and help create an open and friendly environment where the children's creativity and happiness can flourish. Each week, patients are giddy with excitement as we help them find their very own costume from the rack of costumes. Next comes an art project (with everyone typically in costume) accompanied with music and dancing and sometimes even singing! By the end of each program session, the kids (and parents) are already asking when we are coming back again. Volunteering for this organization has truly made me realize my purpose in life. Their compassion is endless and they are always looking for new ways to make each child's life better. Discovery Arts has positively affected so many children and their families and it inspires me to strive for the same greatness in my goal of becoming an art therapist. This organization is extraordinary and brings so much joy to children in need.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This therapy WORKS! Discovery Arts uses the arts as a form of therapeutic expression for children who are sick in the hospital. This incredible charity is well-run and has become such a passion of mine! Keep bringing smiles to those sweet kids, DA!

1 Nancy46

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Discovery Arts is an amazing organization! They give children with life threatening illness opportunity to have normalcy in their lives! When a child is diagnosed with cancer, their life stops. School, sports, outside activity and sometimes friends go away. Discovery Arts brings fun, creativity, and imagination to these children, so they can just be a "child." Music, Art, Dance, and Drama bring healing powers! I am truly blessed to be part of this organization!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Discovery Arts touched our lives about 15 years ago and since then we have become part of their family ... We lost our daughter, Cherese Mari Laulhere when she was 21 years old while on a trip in India. We started a foundation in her memory because she always said she wanted to help children and make a difference in this world. We were contacted by Marilyn Clements to see if we were interested in their program. It was amazing, we were so impressed with everything they did for the kids and with them. From dancing to face painting, singing, making crafts, it really touched our hearts and knew Cherese would love to be involved in Discovery Arts. Cherese was a dancer and loved crafts ! Discovery Arts definitely deserves to have an award from " Great Nonprofits " ! They all work so hard and have proven what a difference their program makes for all the sick children's lives they have touched. We have seen it in person and have watched the kids smile and laugh ..... it's amazing ! And our daughter, Cherese, will always be involved with Discovery Arts !!! If you have a moment, please look at our daughter's website at www.cherese.org Thank you for letting us share our thoughts about Discovery Arts, we couldn't be happier to have said what we did, we could go on and on .... Most Sincerely, Chris and Larry Laulhere

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered and worked for Disovery Arts for about 6 years. It was one of the most enlightening experiences of my life. I met and worked with so many caring and dedicated people...all working toward one cause..to see a smile on a child who was suffering and looking for a chance to just be a kid with no worries. I was able to make such a difference in so many young lives because I spent time here and it has changed me forever. I will always remember certain little girls and boys grabbing the microphone and blasting out the latest Britteny Spears or Justin Beiber song...dressed in the latest dragon or princess costume...in full make-up of course! ....The children's adventures are truly the only focus when you are talking to anyone in the organization....you will always hear.."what else can we do to make their experience with us more memorable"?? Everyone involved has dedicated their lives to making this organization work and grow into the future.

1 Matt26

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Discovery Arts produces results!

I've seen kids who are literally on their last months of life, bedridden and very sick. It hurts. When Discovery Arts arrives, the energy starts to pump in those little veins and those beautiful children magically sit up, get fully inspired, get out of bed, and become kids............once again.

There is a saying that miracles are an act of God. I agree. Discovery Arts has proven that God winks at their kids, then plays with them too!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Discovery arts provides a sense of normality for hospital patients through fun activities including singing, dancing, costumes, crafts, art and face painting. The quietest and shyest of kids that come in are welcomed into an environment that allows them to just be a kid, and not worry about their next treatment or what doctor they are scheduled to see next. Our volunteer and staff core are an amazing group of artists that truly care in the mission of Discovery Arts. Thank you discovery arts for all that you do everyday!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization brings love and happiness to children and families in local hospitals. Each child gets individual attention and time from the volunteers. It gives kids choices, who wouldn't usually have any say in their daily activities. It is a WONDERFUL organization and I hope to see it's growth in the coming years.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is such an amazing charity. The art's always need support. But this charity supports art and health bringing happiness and expression to children in need.