Here at Standish Foundation for Children (SF4C), we are proud to celebrate the dedication and hard work of Child Life Specialists this month and every month! In honor of Child Life Month, our Digital Media Committee team reached out to the team at Kythe Foundation to share what they enjoy about the work they do with hospitalized children and families. Jirah Mae Gealon shares, “It’s when kids don’t wanna go home yet even after their chemotherapy or medical procedure since they like to spend more time playing in the hospital, whether with us or with the toys available. Also, it’s when they hug you when they see you! Always warms my heart!” It’s because of Child Life Specialists like Jirah that hospitalized children can feel safe to play, explore, and be themselves while in the hospital.

For Charm Mercado, this month’s reflection is both professional and personal, as Charm was once a patient himself. Charm tells us, “During my stay at the hospital, I was a grumpy teenager, perhaps due to my circumstances. However, Ate Ninin, the Child Life Coordinator, was there to offer support and provide various activities for patients. Through her and Kythe psychosocial support, I was able to overcome my challenges and become the person I am today.”  For Charm, his experience was more than just a memory but a calling to join a career field where he could give back to a new generation of hospitalized children and families. Charm continues his story, saying, “For me, I want to give the children and their parents hope by sharing my story. I want them to have the impression that cancer of any kind, including osteosarcoma, is treatable or that some cancer patients can still live. By showing them what Kythe does to me when I’m the patient, I aim to give them a small glimmer of hope. I can relate to what parents and children are going through at the hospital because it is a problem I experienced myself. There was one thing Kythe taught me. Sometimes getting better requires more than just taking medication. To win the battle, survive, and continue on their journey, children require psychosocial assistance.”

Charm with Child Life Manager, Ninin Sumpaico-Jose who supported Charm in his journey as a patient.

Charm was a participant in our global fellowship program and his experience reminds us of how grateful we are to carry out our mission with the dedicated support of our donors. It is because of individuals like Charm that we here at SF4C are continually inspired to keep providing training, education, and fellowship programs; to continue creating a world where more psychosocial support and more Child Life Specialists in hospitals become a reality worldwide. Our SF4C team is honored to partner with the Kythe Foundation to provide psychosocial care to children and families in the Philippines! To their team and to all Child Life Specialists, Happy Child Life Month! Together, may we continue to transform children’s healthcare around the globe.