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Kids Helping Kids
If you are a kid who wants to make a difference in the lives of kids who are in the hospital fighting cancer or another serious illness, let us know and we’ll help you get started.”
From packing up Hope for Henry Birthdays-in-a-Box, to collecting brand new books, to donating new iPods or DVDs, or planning and hosting a Halloween party, kids across the country have joined Hope for Henry in making life better for sick children.
Here’s what some other kids have done:
- Alana and Leah E. made and sold colorful duck tape wallets to benefit Hope for Henry Reads, a program that brings great authors and great books to children’s hospitals.
- Jack G. bought iPods and loaded them with movies and music for kids undergoing bone marrow transplants.
- Aaron K. hosted a Bingo fundraiser for his family and friends to raise money to plan and host a Bingo party for the kids and families staying at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.
- Jake M. and Samantha K. each collected and donated birthday supplies for 50 Hope for Henry Birthday Boxes.
- Michael C., Emily N., and Jessie S. each collected and donated nearly 100 brand new books so Hope for Henry Reads could fill the shelves of our book carts with the best books for kids of all ages.
- Simon T. collected new DVDs to bring the pleasure of movie-going to kids in the hospital.
Meet Samantha Knapp
By Hannah Levin and Katie Carden
In Jewish tradition, when a girl turns 13, she celebrates her bat mitzvah--a day all about her, remembering her childhood and looking ahead to her future. Samantha Knapp, on the other hand, made this day about others; she made it about children in the hospital battling serious illness. She made it about children like Henry, the namesake of the Washington, DC-based Hope for Henry Foundation.
Samantha knew she wanted to do a community service project to honor her bat mitzvah. As soon as she read Laurie’s book, Saving Henry, she knew she wanted to work with Hope for Henry to help put smiles on the faces of kids in her community who were fighting cancer and other serious illnesses. She was particularly interested in Hope for Henry’s birthday program and committed herself to making kids happy on their favorite day of the year--their birthday.
Her first step was fundraising. After she had raised enough money, it was shopping time. Samantha went to Party City and as she walked down the aisles, she chose Batman, Hello Kitty and other popular birthday party themed decorations, party hats, blowers, party favors and other items that she knew would make kids smile. She then brought these materials to her bat mitzvah party so that all of her friends and family could help her assemble the themed birthday boxes. Samantha and her friends put together 50 themed boxes for the Hope for Henry birthday party box program.
Now, two years later, Samantha continues to make Hope for Henry a priority in her life. She regularly volunteers at fundraising events, such as the Hope for Henry Run a Mile to Make a Kid Smile Fun Run which raised more than $2,500 for Hope for Henry and funded Hope for Henry’s Super Bowl XLVI party at Georgetown Hospital. She is also an active member in Hope for Henry’s Kids Advisory Board. Samantha explains, “Hope for Henry reminds sick kids that there are people supporting and looking out for them even when they have bad days. It’s all about putting a smile on their faces.”
Meet Brad Gerber
By Katie Carden and Hannah Levin
For most high school students, juggling a heavy course load and an active social life is already highly demanding. But Brad Gerber, a senior at Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School in Bethesda, MD, had interests that expanded beyond that of the typical teenager. Brad applied and was accepted to a prestigious community service program called the Lazarus Leadership Fellows Program. Each participant of the program had to create a 200-hour community service project that he or she would initiate. The student’s are given $250 to cover the expenses of establishing their project.
Brad knew from the start that he wanted to work with Hope for Henry Foundation for his Lazarus project. He was familiar with Hope for Henry because his mother was friends with Laurie, Hope for Henry’s founder. Hope for Henry allowed Brad to combine his passions of science and medicine and service. Brad decided to start a book cart service as part of Hope for Henry Reads, a program that brings great authors and great books to hospitalized children. For four to five days a week, Brad would arrive at the hospital at 10:00 a.m. and push a book cart around to three different wards for two hours. The cart was stocked with an abundance of brand new books for the children to keep, including picture books, and popular kid series, like “Captain Underpants” and “Harry Potter.” After he distributed books to various children, Brad would go to different patient’s rooms to hang out with the kids. He would play board games with them, Wii, and Xbox. If siblings were having a difficult time coping with their brother or sister’s illness, Brad would keep them company and be there to just hang out, to be a friend.
It took Brad a few days to get comfortable being in the hospital. Because some patients had weak immune systems, Brad had to suit up in scrubs and gloves before entering their rooms. For Brad, seeing the sick infants was especially heartbreaking because they were so giddy and happy, blissfully unaware and unable to understand the severity of their condition. While working at the hospital was sometimes difficult and painful, Brad acknowledges that working for Hope for Henry has “opened many doors.” He wants to continue working in the hospital and hopes to eventually become a doctor.
Soon after the Lazarus program ended, Brad became a member of Hope for Henry’s Kids Advisory Board and organized the inaugural Hope for Henry Run a Mile to Make a Kid Smile. The fun run was a mile run around the B-CC High School track, complete with a DJ, a cupcake stand, a raffle, and about 120 runners. Brad says the whole event was “energetic and lively, seeing the support of so many for these sick kids was inspiring.” Brad plans on continuing his work with Hope for Henry. He concedes that Hope for Henry is a unique program because it “goes beyond physically helping the patients. It’s whole purpose is to make the kids happy, to focus on improving their spirit and well-being while they are in the hospital.”