We’re thrilled to report that we were flooded with stacks and stacks and STACKS of My Starlight Gown contest submissions. It’s been so much fun – and really hard work – sorting through all the creative designs from our community of supporters. Thank you to each one of the more than 25,000 amazing artists who took the time to create a new Starlight Gown design that will bring happiness to a hospitalized child.
Starlight Gowns make kids feel like superstars by replacing unattractive, uncomfortable and embarrassing hospital garments with high-quality, comfortable and brightly colored gowns. The best part is, kids love to wear them!
We smashed through last year’s submissions of 6,000!
Teaching compassion and empathy in the classroom
For the second year in a row, Niagara Cares, the philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling, signed on as our official sponsor of the nationwide campaign which launched this year with a special in-school educational component through Scholastic. We worked with Scholastic to create a custom Starlight-themed lesson plan which encouraged kids in grades 3-8 to learn about empathy, philanthropy, and the importance of giving back to their community. Teachers helped students understand what it’s like to be a seriously ill child and the simple, but profound joy of wearing a fun and colorful Starlight Gown while in the hospital. For every design submitted, Scholastic generously donated one book to a hospitalized child.
Thanks to teachers and students across the nation, 23,000 books will be delivered to hospitals!
Schools from coast to coast participated in the activity, including Hillcrest School in New Jersey who involved their students from kindergarten to 5th grade. Windsong Intermediate School fifth graders from Texas had a blast participating in the My Starlight Gown contest because they know it takes courage to fight a life-threatening illness and they hope their Starlight Gowns will encourage kids to stay strong! And thanks to the fourth-grade teachers at Wattles Elementary in Troy, Michigan who rallied behind the contest and sent in more than 80 design submissions from their students.
Pediatric patients join in on the fun
We invited kids at our 800+ healthcare partners across the U.S. to join the contest, and we loved seeing their Starlight Gown designs, too! Five-year-old Colton designed a super fun tiger Starlight Gown and his mom said: “When Colton was first hospitalized in December 2018 for treatment of leukemia he painted a tiger face. He loves tigers! So he wanted to make a gown with a tiger just like his painting. We added a body, grass, and bright sun (for happiness) for the gown. The tiger looks just like his painting.”
Thank you to our hospital partners including, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, Children’s Minnesota and Banner Children’s in Arizona who involved their pediatric patients to design their own hospital gown.
Creativity at its finest
One thing we’ve enjoyed the most is the stunning diversity of designs we received. Kids love drawing unicorns, rainbows, flowers, and dinosaurs. We also surprisingly received many that featured an avocado! Who knew kids loved avocados?
Thank you to the thousands of kids, families, students, teachers, and hospitals who rallied together to design a Starlight Gown they hope will turn a frown upside down for a hospitalized child. Most of all, we thank our partner, Niagara Cares, for sponsoring the contest, because this wouldn’t be possible without their help and support.
Time to pick finalists
Voting for the five finalists in our #MyStarlightGown contest opens May 13 on starlight.org, and Scholastic is also choosing 10 finalists for their voting period. It’s going to be a very tough decision to whittle down the submissions to just 15!
Check out some of the semifinalists below. This is not a comprehensive list, but we wanted to showcase some of our favorites.
Winners will be notified via email before voting opens. Thank you for helping us choose the next great Starlight Gown design to deliver happiness to hospitalized kids!