Portland, OR. While nonprofits are forced to adapt to survive during this period of uncertainty and social distancing, the Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP) is successfully moving and maintaining outreach programs in the virtual world. “We believe that art heals and we could use some healing right now,” explains Barb McDowell, Executive Director.

One way administrators continue to reach children in hospitals is through care package drops.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, CHAP’s main campaign revolved around bringing art supplies and artists to hospitalized children across Oregon, allowing them to express themselves and have fun despite their hardship and potential disabilities. As businesses and organizations were forced to close their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, CHAP had to re-imagine its goals within the framework of online chat rooms and virtual hangouts.

Susan Sherwood, Child Life Specialist for OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, provides free packs filled with art supplies to the children for them to enjoy in their rooms/beds.

The crates of art supplies can be sanitized by hospital staff to allow the kids the tools and ability to paint, draw, or otherwise express themselves despite strict social restrictions inhibiting organizations like CHAP from visiting and in-person deliveries.

Further, CHAPs has created online art clubs through services such as Zoom and Facebook Live that allow children and their parents to virtually attend together while working on art projects that require only common household materials. The move to online has been very popular among CHAP’s patrons who are primarily families stuck at home or in hospitals during this precarious time. This summer they will also be holding online art “summer camps” for the kids by delivering boxes of supplies beforehand and working with local artists and teachers who wish to participate.

CHAP now hosts 2 Art Clubs for children with medical challenges each week via Zoom to keep the CHAP families connected and the creativity flowing.

If you’d like to donate to CHAP you can do so here. If you’d like to watch a short video on them and see what they’re all about, you can watch it here. 

About the Children’s Healing Art Project:

At CHAP, children are known for their creativity and ingenuity — not by their disease, diagnosis or disability.

Our innovative and inclusive healing arts programs are provided free of charge to children, teens and families affected by pediatric illness, disability or special need. CHAP provides Oregon’s only in-and-out of hospital interactive healing arts program for children facing any medical issue.

CHAP can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.