Healing with happiness may seem like a rather basic concept, but studies have found joy and a positive attitude can not only reduce stress but also can make our bodies heal a bit more quickly.
Julius B. Richmond is FAMRI professor of Child Health and Development at HSPH and at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has made a study of children under stress and the effects it has on their health. Reducing stress and bringing a little bit of happiness into a child’s daily life can make a real difference, he says. He should know; he is also a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
In September 2016, A Special Wish Foundation — Dayton (ASW) began a new program, Splashes of Joy, to bring a bit of happiness to the children who have been admitted at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
ASW along with their dedicated volunteers host bingo and delivers special gifts each month to all the children who have been admitted Since its start, ASW has delivered coloring books and crayons, Halloween goodie bags, Santa hats, and colorful blankets. This month, ASW passed out Mylar balloons in honor of St. Patrick’s Day!
When speaking with Karen Muller, Child Life manager at Dayton Children’s Hospital, she said, “Whether it’s playing bingo, donating fleece blankets or Mylar balloons, Splashes of Joy is always a bright spot for our patients and their families. It has been a pleasure to have A Special Wish Foundation visit each month and support our patients during their hospital stay with Splashes of Joy!”
Bingo and the delivery of “joy” could not be possible without the dedicated support of the ASW volunteer team. Becky Puff, ASW volunteer ambassador, said, “I am a retired EEG technician and although the procedure is painless, it would require placing 21 electrodes on the child’s head. Many children would have to be restrained in order to properly place the electrodes thus causing additional stress for both the child and the parents. When I volunteer, everyone is happy. Parents like to come in and play Bingo and the kids love the break from their room — and of course the presents are icing on the cake. It’s a very fun and rewarding experience for me.”
Another equally important side of Splashes of Joy is taking care of Wish family members who diligently stay by their child’s side during an extended hospital stay. A lengthy hospital stay is not only taxing on the wish kid but on family members as well. Splashes of Joy provides a break from the day-to-day routines of the hospital stay and provides a little pampering and unexpected joy for the wish kid and/or family members. Through community-wide partnerships with local businesses, ASW provides families with their favorite meal from their favorite restaurants a relaxing spa treatment for mom and dad, or a board game or favorite book. ASW’s Splashes of Joy mission strives to reinvigorate a sense of enthusiasm, optimism, and hope. Through this program, even the smallest gesture helps the children and their families bounce back from a stressful and challenging time spent in the hospital.
To find out more how you can be part of the Splashes of Joy program or helping to make a local child’s very Special Wish come true, go online to www.aspecialwishdayton.org or call 937-23-WISH (9674.)
A Special Wish Foundation-Dayton Chapter is the only wish granting organization located in the Dayton region. For more information on how you can be part of granting a local child’s wish, go online to www.aspecialwishdayton.org.