March is Child Life Month and at Starlight, we know the importance of Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) and how their work directly impacts the lives of hospitalized children and their families. We have the honor of working with some amazing Child Life teams at our 800+ hospital partners across the country, and we are thrilled to spotlight just a few of those teams throughout this month.
From providing resources and information to a sick child’s family to providing a Starlight Gown or time with a Starlight Gaming Station, Child Life teams work tirelessly to ease the anxieties of pediatric patients and their families as best they can. For Starlight Kids, their Child Life Specialists can be the difference between feeling scared and isolated or feeling hopeful and prepared during their hospital stays.
This year, our Starlight Kid Ambassadors shared with us why they love their Child Life Specialists.
Grace was introduced to her Child Life Specialist, Edith after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2021. Since then, they have grown a special bond, and Grace speaks fondly of her time with Edith and has even expressed an interest in becoming a Child Life Specialist herself!
“[Edith] explained what acute lymphoblastic leukemia is, how the procedures worked, and what was going to happen to me, and it made me feel better to know what to expect,” Grace said. “Edith was always there to play with me or help me with my crafting projects. She helped my hospital stays be fun!”
"My Child Life Specialists have supported me in various ways like providing moral support and guidance when I have surgery as well as helping keep me distracted throughout my hospital stays by bringing me games, doing crafts with me, or just talking to me to keep me company and entertain me. I love and appreciate my Child Life Specialists for all they do to help make hospital stays less daunting." ~ Starlight Kid Ambassador, Josie
Olivianna’s first Child Life Specialist, Shaylie, was incredibly helpful with her big sister, Mikaela, and her family could not be more grateful for the time they spent together.
“She was there in the beginning and was helpful in showing and explaining to Mikaela what was going on with Olivianna. She even scheduled monthly outpatient visits with Mikaela to answer any questions she had and went to talk to her class about why Mikaela had to miss school often due to Olivianna’s illness. She was seriously amazing!” - Olivianna’s mom, Hildie
Her current CCLS, Felice, is equally as amazing and is always helping to distract Olivianna while she gets her port accessed.
“Last month, Olivianna knocked out her tooth at the hospital and Felice went out of her way to print out a tooth fairy certificate for her. It was the sweetest thing because I was super emotional about her losing her first tooth!” - Hildie
"[Paul’s CCLS] came by his room more than once with toys for him to play with and would stay to play with him. He loved having someone new to play with! It’s nice knowing that if he gets admitted [to the hospital] again, there will be someone available to ease the burden of being there, even just a little." ~ Paul's Mom, Julie
Starlight programs help Child Life Specialists build meaningful relationships with patients by assisting with improving their hospital experiences. We are so thankful to work with so many amazing Child Life teams across the country!