The mission of Spirit of Children is simple: make hospitals less scary for children. Since its inception in 2006, at which time Halloween parties were thrown for children and families at 11 different hospitals in local communities, the Spirit of Children organization has grown into a year-round nationwide effort, supporting 151 hospitals around the country. By providing funding to Child Life Departments in these hospitals, Spirit of Children has been able to actively contribute to the wellbeing of children in communities in every corner of the United States.
Since 2007, Spirit of Children has raised over $93 million, raising $16 million in 2021 alone. This funding is only possible from the support of local communities all over the country from both online and in-store donations. The best part: 100% of these donations go straight to a hospital in your local community. Through this funding, the Spirit of Children organization has been able to bring together an outpouring of support for sick children, providing aid in many different areas.
Firstly, donations help to provide materials such as art supplies and toys, iPads, playrooms, lounges and family spaces, and more. They even go toward throwing Halloween parties for young children and teens alike during spooky season! Because of contributions like these to hospitals in your local community, children are able to truly feel like kids and have some fun added to their everyday environment. Toys and other hands-on materials are vital in providing not only a distraction to children during treatment, but also a sense of fun and normalcy for both children and families alike during what are undoubtedly very challenging times in their lives.
Spirit of Children also helps to provide funding toward programs involving the arts, music, pet therapy, aquatics, horticulture, and more. These programs, which are staffed by Child Life Specialists and volunteers from the local community and Spirit Halloween stores alike, have become a fun and unifying way to contribute to this amazing cause. Programs like these are integral in offering support to young patients in their journeys to heal, and are made possible from the donations of members of local communities around the country. Additionally, Spirit of Children helps support Child Life salaries and helps hospitals acquire sensory and educational equipment.
The Spirit of Children organization has a key focus on supporting those on the front lines of this cause, as well. Funding from these donations is also used to contribute to the salaries of those working in Child Life Departments, which allows for the presence of a full-time Child Life Specialist in Emergency Departments in hospitals. These contributions toward Child Life help members of those departments provide emotional and educational support to children so that, in turn, medical staff can focus on treatment and rehabilitation for their young patients.
Despite the global pandemic, Spirit of Children has not relented in its mission. In 2021, Spirit of Children provided “Halloween Celebration Packages” to all partner hospitals, which contained an array of fun gifts for patients including Halloween costumes, treat bags, activity books, and crayons. This “reverse trick-or-treating” initiative gave those in Child Life Departments around the country the opportunity to provide some Halloween magic to young children.
Spirit of Children is truly the heart of Spirit Halloween, and its chief philanthropic effort to support sick children in local communities. But we can’t do it alone! Learn more about Spirit of Children through our website, check out our partners, and see how you can contribute in your local community. Consider making a donation and use the hashtag #SpiritOfChildren to encourage support for the Spirit of Children program in its ongoing efforts to bring joy to young patients in the United States and Canada.