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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Discovery Arts

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Volunteering Oportunities

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

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 CyreneJagger

Client Served

Rating: 5

My heartstrings were first pulled when I met Discovery Arts' Executive Director, Marilyn Clements, and Program Manager, Nancy Marshall at an event in 1999. I have had the honor of working along side them since 2007 as the organization's Publicist. It has been so uplifting to see how dedicated the entire Cast & Crew are at Discover Arts. Miracles and God Winks swirl all around this heart centered organization.

The real blessing is meeting the children and parents that we serve. A parent of a very sick child is overwhelmed and full of uncertainty. To see a child and parent come into the program tired and scared and watch them leave laughing, smiling and uplifted is such an fantastic thing to witness. The greatest gift is meeting these precious children, they are wise beyond their years.

Having been a parent of a terminally ill child, and now working along side the incredible people of Discovery Arts, has given me healing, strength and purpose to the very sad reality that I once lived with. It is a real blessing to come full-circle and be able to do my small part in helping to bring awareness of this very special cause and Discovery Arts' mission of bringing the Arts and Joy to these incredibly special children and their families.

2 Ben_37

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I was five, I had undergone stomach surgery. I was held in the hospital for four days in order to recover. During that time, Discovery Arts came to my hospital and held an event, which included games and projects for us to enjoy. I am now 18, and I still remember the joy I had when they visited my hospital. I volunteered for Discovery Arts this past summer, and my experience there exceeded my expectations greatly. The amount of care and dedication the staff have towards their clients is heartwarming and inspiring. Discovery Arts support children who are in the hospital by providing art and entertainment. I hope they can continue to grow and spread happiness wherever they go.


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!!!


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.