Discovery Arts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is celebrating it’s 25th year of service for hospitalized children who are undergoing treatment for cancer and other life threatening illness.
This year marks Discovery Art’s 25th year of service of providing Arts Adventure Programs to children who are in the hospital undergoing treatment for cancer, serious blood disorders or life threatening illness. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was created in 1993 by a group of dedicated arts and entertainment industry professionals who began volunteering their time and talents to bring dance, music, drama and art to children during their hospital stay.
In celebration of their 25th anniversary Discovery Arts is promoting their “Circle of Friends” Partnership. “Circle of Friends” is a monthly donation of $25 that will ensure one child will receive a customized Bedside Adventure Kit, a Costume, and a Keepsake Photo, plus much more.
Discovery Arts now provides their programs to more than 3,500 critically ill children each year in six Southern California hospitals and in 2009 they began a “pilot program” for hospitalized children in Springfield, MO. Each week the dedicated “Cast & Crew” of Discovery Arts Staff and Volunteers bring a parade of fun, laughter and “Arts Adventures” for the children at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, Millers Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Jonathan Jaques Children’s Center at Millers, CHOC Children’s Hospital, Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, CHOC at Mission and also at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Springfield, MO.
Discovery Arts was co-founded by President, Don Harper and Executive Director, Marilyn Clements. For the first several years, they worked informally with the children hospitalized at Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Millers Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Long Beach, California. Based on the success of their programs and the positive responses from the medical staff, the children and their families, Discovery Arts was formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 1998 with the mission of expanding the delivery of their “Arts Adventures” Programs to many more children in hospitals throughout Southern California.
All of Discovery Arts’ programs are offered free of charge for the hospitals, patients and their families. They rely on the generosity of individuals, monthly donors, corporations, private foundations, community partners, a committed circle of private donors, art supply manufacturers and an enthusiastic corps of volunteers, to help provide their “Arts Adventures” to these often forgotten children.
“We have found that these very sick children all share one wish...‘to be normal.’ Anything we can do to make their journey a little easier or a little brighter is our greatest wish. It is a privilege to serve these wonderful children and their families each and every week, all year long. We are truly honored to be a welcomed partner with our hospitals, medical staff, parents and the children,” states Marilyn Clements, Discovery Arts' Co-Founder and Executive Director, “25 years have gone quickly and we look forward to many more!”
Click here to Join Discovery Arts’ Circle of Friends
ABOUT DISCOVERY ARTS
Discovery Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that brings the healing power of the arts to children with cancer, serious blood disorders, and life threatening illness while they are in the hospital receiving treatment. Discovery Arts' mission is to insure that each child has the opportunity to forget about the obvious horrors and circumstance of cancer or life threatening illness. Discovery Arts began serving children in a small 14 bed unit at Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Millers. They now serve more than 3500 children and their families each year, providing nine programs in six southern California hospitals. Their first step out of California and into the nation, began in 2009 with a program at Mercy Children's Hospital in Springfield, Missouri.
For children who are too ill to participate in their group programs, a Discovery Arts crew member brings the magic directly to a child’s bedside for their very own Arts Adventure with a “Bedside Adventure Kit.” These custom made packaged kits are filled with a variety of age appropriate art materials and fun creative projects. Each and every child receives a Bedside Adventure Kit, additional kits are also provided to the hospitals for children to enjoy when Discovery Arts is not on site. Additionally, each time Discovery Arts arrives, every child receives a costume, that they get to keep, plus trophies, keepsake photos and much more.
Discovery Arts brings more than just a smile to children with cancer or life threatening illness. Their Arts Adventures give these precious children a chance to get out of bed, laugh, create, feel good about themselves, and for the moment, just be a child.
Don Harper, President and Co-Founder of Discovery Arts
Don Harper composes music for film, television and the stage. Don composed the score for Disney’s Lion King 1.5 DVD release and for the animated television series, The Legend of Tarzan. Mr. Harper’s work can also be heard in feature films such as G-Force, National Treasure & National Treasure 2, The Guardian, Texas Rangers, Armageddon and The Rock; in the TV film Houdini; and in the series The Magnificent Seven. An accomplished orchestrator and conductor, Harper has contributed to such films as Jack Frost, Twister, Speed and Disney’s animated feature, Tarzan. Don Harper also arranges, composes and produces music for live venues worldwide, including Sight & Sound Theatre’s musical production; Joseph, Tokyo DisneySea’s, Nighttime Halloween Parade and Disneyland’s fireworks spectacular Believe – There’s Magic in the Stars.
Marilyn Clements, Vice President, Executive Director, Co-founder of Discovery Arts
As Executive Director, Ms. Clements manages all day-to-day operations of the agency, as well as personally visiting the hospitals each week as one of the primary Discovery Arts Adventure artists. With more than forty years of professional experience, she has choreographed and directed numerous special events and theatrical productions that include Pope John Paul II’s visit to Los Angeles at the LA Memorial Coliseum, Radio City Music Hall's, "Magnificent Christmas Spectacular" in New York, The Joe Gibbs Special Event at Kennedy Center with an array of Celebrities that include Bob Hope and President and Mrs. Bush. She has worked extensively for the Walt Disney Company, and also choreographed for Disney at the N.A.R.M. Convention for the Disney Record and Video Divisions, to mention a few.
Please help us continue to deliver the healing gifts of imagination, fun and the important sense of normalcy to these brave children, all year long.
Here is a beautiful story that Alyssa's mom wrote for us. What a special girl she is. Alyssa, is now 8 years old.
Alyssa was just three when she was diagnosed with leukemia. A year into her treatment she developed a virus in her brain. She became very sick and was in a drug induced coma for 5 days. When she finally woke up nobody knew what to expect. Alyssa could not speak, she could not walk and days later it was confirmed that she had permanently lost her sight. Alyssa had to relearn how to talk and walk but her right side remained weak and she has very limited use of her right hand. About three month's after Alyssa was released from the hospital she started to have seizures. On a good day she would have three or four seizure, on a bad day she could have up to thirty in an hour. About a year and a half after Alyssa lost her sight she finished her chemo treatment and was declared in remission. Normally this would be a big celebration but due to her uncontrollable seizures we wondered how long her little body could take it. This is when we sought out a surgical cure to Alyssa's seizures. Doctors at UCLA recommended removing Alyssa's left hemisphere of her brain. While we never had heard of such a thing we knew we had to take a chance to find a cure for her. In November of 2010 Alyssa underwent massive brain surgery, her doctors ended up removing two thirds of her left hemisphere in hopes of keeping her communication skills intact.
Alyssa had another long recovery ahead of her. She had to learn to talk and walk again but this red head was determined to survive. Her last seizure was in May of 2011. The surgery has worked. We are now reducing her seizure meds and everyday I see pieces of the little girl that was taken away from me return. Alyssa can walk and talk, she can do simple math and is learning Braille. Alyssa also knows has a service dog named Flint, he helps her with mobility and various other things that he was trained for. Alyssa has an amazingly funny personality and even though her sight is gone forever she see's more clearly than anyone I know.
During Alyssa's many stays at the hospital her only entertainment was the playroom. She especially looked forward to Thursday's as that was Discovery Arts day. She couldn't wait to go down to pick out a costume or to do a special craft. The days when she was too sick leave her room she would always ask "do I still get my costume?" but the women would already know that she was sick and they would have picked one out for her. We have dozen's of pictures of Alyssa dressed up in different costumes and her smile was never bigger than on the days she was a princess or a fairy. Hospital life is hard on everyone, especially the patient, but Discovery Arts offer a little escape from reality!
~ Alyssa's Mom
Honor every healthy child you know to help a sick child who is in the hospital.
November is a great time to count your blessings for all the things you are thankful for. What better way to put your gratitude in to action. For all of the healthy children in your life honor them by donating a "Grateful Dollar" for children who are struggling with a parents worse nightmare ... a child who is very very ill.
Join us in our pledge to give a GRATEFUL DOLLAR FOR EVERY HEALTHY CHILD IN YOUR LIFE, your kids, grand children, nieces and nephews, your children's friends.
Click the donate button below to send in your Grateful Dollar!
Your donation is Tax Deductible!
"Spending time with these precious children will change your life. You find that you really don't have any problems... they will fade into the background as you witness what real problems are... and to your surprise, you will be blessed by these children when you thought you were there to try to bless them... We are grateful to you and thank you dear friends, for making Discovery Arts possible!"
Marilyn Clements, Executive Director Discovery Arts
1 Day to go! We are wrapping up our 30-30 Challenge but there is still time to contribute to these precious children.
Find details here: http://www.discoveryarts.org/currently-playing.html
Discovery Arts brings "Arts Adventures" to children with cancer and life threatening illness while they are in the hospital receiving treatment. We are looking for Volunteer Program Assistants to support our programs in Orange, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Fountain Valley and Mission Viejo. Background in the Arts, very organized person needed.
Programs held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 1:30 and 4:00 pm. Hospital location TBD.
For details on how to apply click here: Volunteer Program Assistant
Bringing the healing power of the arts to children who are in the hospital undergoing treatment for cancer or life-threatening illness.