Great Escapes Renew Families’ Spirits
Starlight’s Great Escapes family activities program provides families with recreational opportunities and a chance to have fun together away from the hospital so they can regroup and return home with a renewed sense of strength and hope. In Arizona, an average of up to 70 Starlight family members participate and enjoy fun-filled Great Escapes activities each month.
Highlights from some of our recent Starlight Great Escapes have included:
Grandparent’s Day - September 18
With continued support from the Phoenix Suns Charities, Starlight held our second annual Grandparent’s Day Great Escape at a beautiful church in Scottsdale. Ninety-one Starlight children, moms, dads and grandparents enjoyed yummy pizza donated by California Pizza Kitchen and pasta salad. Mad Science wowed the crowed once again with its Up, Up and Away program, teaching everyone about air pressure. Families also got together at craft centers to design potholders, make scrapbooks, create family trees and put together their favorite “Going to Grandma’s bag.” As a special momento of the day, each grandparent also received a collectible Franklin Mint decorative plate.
In addition to providing support for the Grandparents Day Great Escape, the Phoenix Suns Charities has also sponsored a Fun Center mobile entertainment unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center! The Fun Center will help approximately 500 hospitalized children per year by providing distractive entertainment that helps sick children relax, reduces the need for pain medication and helps pass long hours in the hospital. Over the last three years, the Phoenix Suns Charities have donated $20,000 to Starlight Arizona.
CPKids Camp – October 30
On Saturday, October 30, we held our annual CPKids Camp Great Escape generously sponsored by California Pizza Kitchen. CPK volunteers had decked out the Ramada with Starlight banners, stars, and purple and yellow to make the event feel truly special. Families enjoyed a massive 25-foot dual slide called “Big Daddy,” bean bag toss, a fishing game, inflatable sports games, pumpkin bowling, bookmark making, pet rock designing, trick or treat bag making and other sports and crafts. During the wiffle ball tournament, volunteers helped out by helping kids in wheelchairs run the bases and providing batting assistance to others. Each family went home with a picnic blanket, all their crafts, a t-shirt and their very own participation ribbon for joining in all the festivities.
Polar Express – November 12
Thanks to the generosity of the Frank Edward Piccolo Foundation, 50 lucky Starlight children and family members enjoyed a full holiday experience during a Polar Express Great Escape thanks to a generous gift of tickets from Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express. Families boarded the train and traveled to the “North Pole” to pick up Santa and enjoyed a reading of The Polar Express book by chefs serving hot cocoa and warm cookies on board. After the ride was over, families spent the night at the Comfort Inn before climbing back aboard and heading home. Each child received his or her very own bell from Santa, every family received a holiday gift bag full of travel games, coloring books, stuffed animals, a copy of The Polar Express movie, a keepsake ornament and much more.
Sparkly Holiday Night at Zoo Lights – December 17
Each year, Starlight’s Sparkly Holiday Night at Zoo Lights Great Escape is the highlight of the holiday season. Sponsored by Maracay Homes, the event serves as the culmination of a month-long toy drive benefiting seriously ill children. Families are invited to this whimsical wonderland in the Stonehouse Venue at the Phoenix Zoo to enjoy dinner, ornament-making and a visit from Santa to hand out all the toys that his elves at Maracay Homes have collected. After Santa’s visit, families enjoy hot cocoa and cookies while touring the lights around the zoo.
A Day on the Ice With the Phoenix Coyotes – December 29
The Phoenix Coyotes Charities thought of everything for our end of the year Great Escape. More than 180 Starlight kids and family members enjoyed dinner and individual poster banner craft making to which the youth during the game could express and share with fans their support of their favorite team … cheering the Phoenix Coyotes on to a WIN against the LA Kings. A memorable and exciting night of hockey it was for all!
We Need Your Help!
Starlight Arizona needs your help to continue to offer Great Escapes to Arizona families! We are seeking caring, compassionate individuals, corporations or families interested in “adopting” a Great Escapes family activity.
Working closely with Starlight, host individuals, corporations or families will help identify, name, plan, fund, implement and host the Great Escape event that will bring respite and support to a group of families facing tremendous challenges, while allowing the host family members to experience first-hand the joy of helping others.
Do You Have a Really Cool Job? Talk about it on Starbright World®
You know, or at least remember, what it’s like to be a teen with the world at your fingertips. But have you ever stopped to think what it would be like to be a teen who is confined to a hospital bed or stuck at home for days, weeks on end because of a chronic or life-threatening illness? Imagine the feeling that you are missing out on all that life has to offer you.
With this in mind, Starlight created Starbright World, a private, online social network for seriously ill teens, ages 13 to 20, and their teen-aged siblings. Whether from home or the hospital, members are able to get to know other teens from around the world who are going through similar experiences.
One of the most popular features on Starbright World are guest chats, where individuals from all walks of life log on to spend some time with members using instant messaging. We are currently looking for people with interesting jobs — maybe like yours — to participate in a People with Really Cool Jobs chat series.
It is very easy to participate. All that is required is a brief orientation with Starlight staff, and then an hour of instant messaging from anywhere you have Internet access during which you will talk about your job and answer questions.
If you are interested in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can be flexible with your schedule and are looking for chat guests to fill our 2011 calendar!
Thanks to Vivendi, New Enhancements Coming to Starbright World®
As you recall, in late 2009, Starlight unveiled the next generation of its Starbright World online social network thanks to generous contributions through signature sponsor Vivendi’s Create Joy Fund. Since Vivendi began its support of the program, membership has increased by an estimated 42 percent.
At the newly designed Starbright World, the latest in social networking technology was brought to the site. Since then,
members have been able to connect with each other via chat, take part in virtual contests and games, and express themselves
through stories, photos, videos, e-cards and personal profiles.
There is even more reason to celebrate on Starbright World now, as Vivendi has recently renewed its support once again through
another generous award! The latest gift will be used to introduce new and enhanced features on Starbright World to satisfy the ever-changing expectations of its young community and keep the site on par with other popular social networks.
Pending enhancements to Starbright World include:
- One-way video conferencing
- A music player
- Webinar functionality
- Additional instant messaging capabilities
The grant will also support 20/7 live chat hosting and site moderation as well as marketing and outreach to let more seriously ill teens know about the program.
If you would like to refer a seriously ill teen or teen-aged sibling to Starbright World, visit www.starbrightworld.org.