Steve Barr drawing on chalk board

Steve Barr – Drawn To Help – Drawn To Help – Cartoon Fun For Kids In Hospitals

Date grant awarded: March 2019

Many young patients across the country spend countless hours in the hospital, often alone in their rooms and experiencing anxiety about their medical challenges. Drawn To Help brings professional cartoonists and children’s book illustrators to visit them, brighten their days and encourage them to keep looking towards the future. Our volunteers draw with the children and for the children, teaching them how to create their own silly cartoon characters. The impact on the children’s lives, physical conditions and emotional well-being is incredibly powerful and transformative. We’ve seen kids be lifted out of deep depressions, regain their appetites, and perk up tremendously during our sessions with them. We also give each pediatric patient we visit a free pack of art supplies that they get to keep, as well as fun cartooning books. Those gifts allow them to continue to experience the healing power of art and creativity long after our volunteers have gone home, and bring huge smiles to their faces. The results can often be almost miraculous, and we want to touch as many young lives and hearts as we possibly can.

Art heals. Before I began this work, I had read quite a few articles and studies about the impact art can have on a patient. Studies have shown that creative activities can lessen stress, ease pain and release healing agents into the body. But until I saw it happen right in front of my eyes, I was a bit doubtful about the results of those studies.

After witnessing it for myself, I remain convinced that Drawn To Help’s work is extremely important, and touches pediatric patients’ lives in a deep and powerful way. There is something magical about the word “cartoons” that opens a child’s heart, and their hospital room doors! Kids love to draw. They love to laugh. And, as we all know, laughter is the best medicine in the world.

I’ve had a lot of success in the cartooning world during my lifetime, and enjoyed every moment of it. But creating and growing the Drawn To Help organization into a large, long-lasting organization is my favorite thing I’ve ever done. Each moment spent by a child’s bedside is priceless, and my own life is touched as deeply as theirs is. Every one of our volunteers will tell you the same thing. At the same time we are lifting the children up, they are lifting us up as well.

The Pollination Project’s initial seed grant was the first outside funding I received, back when I was just doing this as an individual. Receiving those funds played an integral role in providing not only financial support that led to the creation of Drawn To Help, but the behind the scenes encouragement and advice I received from TPP helped propel what I was doing on my own into an amazing organization that now serves thousands of pediatric patients each year, with an incredible array of talented volunteers with big hearts who visit hospitals in many different locations. None of this would have probably happened without TPP’s first grant, and their wonderful guidance along the way.

As we begin to transition from a fiscal sponsorship to full non-profit status, this larger follow up award will help us continue what we are doing, expand our outreach to new locations and help us keep touching the lives of young patients around the country in amazing ways. It is deeply appreciated, and comes at exactly the perfect time for us. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

We invited eligible grantees to apply for up to $5,000 in Impact Grants which will allow them to apply their creativity and ingenuity to grow their projects to greater heights.

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