Arts for Healing Program
Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital has an Arts for Healing program that helps children cope with the adjustments of hospitalization. The Hospital directed grants it received from several designated funds at The Community Foundation, including the Edna May & Richard M. Thalheimer Fund, toward the activities of that invaluable program.
Coping with a chronic illness is difficult at any age, but it can be particularly scary for children like Casey Ridgeway, who in 2013 at age 13 was receiving treatment for osteosarcoma.
Fortunately, Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital has an Arts for Healing program that helps patients like Casey and many others cope with the adjustments of hospitalization. The Hospital has used grants from it has received from several designated funds at The Community Foundation, including the Edna May & Richard M. Thalheimer Fund, to support the activities of that invaluable program.
Arts for Healing programs engage children and families in daily group activities and bedside sessions in visual art, crafts, video/digital storytelling, music, poetry, theater and movement. Artists and certified art and music therapists encourage and support self-expression. Through immersion in the creative process, patients manage pain, loss, isolation and other effects of illness and hospitalization. Creative therapists also help patients to develop coping and problem solving skills and empower them to explore and communicate their experiences of living with illness. Through the arts, patients see themselves and their healthcare experience through a different lens and discover strengths during a challenging time.
Helping Children Deal with Chronic Illness
According to Tom Griggs, former Director Corporation and Foundation Giving at Yale-New Haven Hospital, finding support for the art and for children separately is not as easy as finding donors for health initiatives. "Finding donors to support this unique program that combines all three elements has proven challenging," said Griggs. "Having the flexibility to use grants from The Community Foundation designated funds for this important program ensures [the hospital] can help children deal with chronic illness year round in an age-appropriate, inspirational and effective manner."
Of the several funds used to support the Arts for Healing programs, the Edna May & Richard M. Thalheimer Fund was established by a former member of The Community Foundation's Distribution Committee (today's Board of Directors). Mr. Thalheimer served on the Committee between 1947-1958 and joined his father in the New Haven cigar manufacturing company A. Kafka & Co., of which he later became President. He was very active in community affairs, serving as Vice President and Director of the National Savings Bank of New Haven, Director and Chairman of the New Haven Community Chest (today's United Way of Greater New Haven) and past President of Council of Social Agencies, New Haven Boys Club Director and former Director and member of the Executive Committee of Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Per Richard's wishes, income from the Edna May & Richard M. Thalheimer Fund is used two ways: first, to support two organizations (New Haven Boys & Girls Club & Yale-New Haven Hospital), and second, to provide flexible, unrestricted support for projects selected by The Community Foundations' Board that best serve the current needs of the Greater New Haven community.
Like Richard Thalheimer and others, you or someone you know can create a lasting legacy through a permanent endowment that benefits the community for generations. To learn more, please contact Sharon Cappetta or 203-777-7071.