For sick and injured children, being hospitalized is likely one of the scariest times in their lives. But thanks to ongoing support from Spirit Halloween, UC Davis Children’s Hospital Child Life Fellowship Program was developed, allowing the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy department to expand services to more patients and families.
Over the last 10 years, this program has provided 17 six-month child life fellowships. Annual donations from Spirit Halloween’s Spirit of Children program, including a check for $71,943 for 2019, fund this program which provides additional training and supervision for individuals aspiring to be certified child life specialists. Many of these fellows have been hired into career positions within the department, enabling more children, siblings and caretakers access to tools and programs that help minimize anxiety, strengthen understanding and bolster coping skills.
Donations from Spirit Halloween have allowed the department to expand career staffing to the children’s surgery center, pediatric infusion center and pediatric radiology, sharing the benefit of these services across the children’s hospital. Over the last two years, Spirit Halloween funding has also provided a child life student education coordinator position. The addition of this staff member has allowed the department to make improvements to the child life student education program which positioned the department to apply and receive an Association for Child Life Professional Internship Accreditation. UC Davis Children’s Hospital was the first hospital in Northern California to receive this accreditation and the third in the state. Spirit Halloween’s Spirit of Children program still funds this position for 24 hours per week so we can continue to provide a rigorous and highly regarded training program.
“When Kirk and Shanda Pierce and Spirit Halloween first called me and wanted to partner, I could have never imagined what an impact this campaign would have,” said Diana Sundberg, UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy manager. “Spirit Halloween was the catalyst for our Fellowship Program and has given us the means to provide services to children we would have never been able to reach before. We are so grateful for this relationship for more than 10 years.”
The specialty retail store has donated more than $500,000 to UC Davis Children’s Hospital during that time, with every cent going toward the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy department.
“It has been amazing to see the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy department grow and have so much depth,” said Spirit Halloween operator, Shanda Pierce. “The success of this fellowship program makes it a model for other children’s hospitals. Our Spirit Halloween employees take great pride in being a part of helping local kids have a hospital experience that is a little less scary.”
About Spirit Halloween
Spirit Halloween is the largest Halloween specialty retailer in the country with over 1,300 locations in strip centers and malls across North America. Celebrating more than 30 years in business, Spirit is the premier destination for all things Halloween, offering one-stop shopping for everything from costumes and décor, party goods to accessories. In addition to being a fun and interactive event for shoppers, Spirit stores offer complete selections of costumes and accessories for infants/toddlers, children, ‘tweens, teens and adults, along with exclusive décor you won’t find anywhere else.
About Spirit of Children
At the heart of Spirit Halloween is Spirit of Children, a program which focuses on making hospitals less scary for kids and their families. Since its inception in 2007, Spirit of Children has raised more than $55 million for the Child Life department at hospitals across the country. Donations to Spirit of Children stay within local communities, with 100 percent of funds going toward a child’s life. For the 2019 Halloween season, Spirit of Children supported more than 140 hospitals across the country, with a goal to raise a record $10 million. Spirit encourages customers to help make a difference in a child’s life this Halloween season by donating at their local Spirit Halloween or spreading awareness via Facebook and Instagram using #SpiritofChildren and #MoreCowbell in their photos.