Reach out and Read prepares children for literacy success for years to come


The learning experience a child has before they reach 5 years of age establishes the foundation for educational success for the duration of their lives. During this initial stage, the brain evolves at a rate faster than any other time within the developmental process, and children acquire language skills that prepare them for success in literacy and learning when they enter kindergarten, and throughout their education.

Throughout the United States, one out of six children between the ages of 1 and 5 regularly goes to bed without hearing a story read aloud. For children living in poverty, this figure may be higher, and often these children don’t have access to books in their homes.  Because of numbers like these, Reach Out and Read (ROAR) was founded as a national program by a group of pediatricians and educators who recognized the tremendous significance of infancy and toddlerhood in setting the stage for learning.

ROAR prepares children to succeed in school by engaging health care professionals to work with parents to reinforce the connection of literacy as an important part of childhood development. The program partners with pediatricians to provide each child with a free book at every check-up visit and extends literacy counseling to parents by providing tips and encouragement.

Through funding from the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, the ROAR program at Children’s Hospital of Michigan has impacted children’s lives by providing books and literacy counseling to thousands of families.  Reach Out and Read incorporates early childhood education into pediatric care with the hope that one day all children will be prepared to succeed in school.


Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation announces new partnership with the Healing Kids Foundation







The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is excited to announce a new partnership with the Healing Kids Foundation. Healing Kids Foundation is a charity designed to help pediatric burn victims and their families as well as to bring awareness and hopeful prevention to pediatric burns in the Detroit area and surrounding cities. This new initiative was started by Tonya Klein, whose husband is a pediatric surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where pediatric burns are one of his specialties.


Per the American Burn Association:
Each year in the US, roughly 250,000 children under age 17 require medical attention for burn injuries. Approximately 15,000 children require hospitalization for burn injuries. 1,100 children per year die from fires and burn-related injuries.



Being there for kids when they need it most!

A visit to the hospital can be stressful for kids and parents alike, but Child Life Specialists help make it as comfortable as possible. These trained professionals are experts in child development and they help distract kids from the pain and anxiety of a hospital stay. In 2017, more than 13,000 kids received Child Life Services such as art, music and yoga therapy at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

To the unfamiliar, creative therapies such as art and music therapy appear to be just arts and crafts, or simply child’s play. Yet creative therapies are valid treatments, proven to promote and improve the healing process. Your donation would enable us to fund treatment solutions like these to truly make a difference in the life of a child.

When working with a child, art therapist Victoria Goldsmith initially establishes rapport, then emphasizes that the outcome of the art is not really what’s important. Approached as a process, not as an end result, art can help children release energy and become a means of self-expression that doesn’t require words.

“One of my favorite interventions is a scribble drawing,” she says. “We use pen or pencil and paper, and the patient can select a time frame. A 20-second scribble helps get out that pent-up physical energy. After that, I present a challenge—what can we find in the scribbles?”
The following is an example of how music therapy played an important role in the care of a young child:

Michaela Rabin was just 2 years old when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Suddenly, her world became a frightening place full of painful medical procedures. Over the course of a year, Michaela spent 100 days in the hospital and while her body was healing, she was becoming anxious and fearful.

“Suddenly, everything scared her,” says Michaela’s mother, Amy Rabin. “She became apprehensive of everything and cried when people just walked through the door.”
Among the many therapies that Michaela received, the most soothing came from music therapist Blythe Filar. By playing music, Filar helped Michaela reduce her stress level and better tolerate her environment. “Eventually, Blythe could walk into the room and Michaela was not afraid of her,” Rabin says. “Music therapy was a lifesaver, a truly wonderful thing. It returned something that was taken away from Michaela.”

Today, Michaela is a thriving 6-year-old kindergartener.

Kids in the hospital need all the help we can give them, and creative therapy is an important tool. Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is committed to improving the health and well-being of all kids in Michigan and we need your help to continue to serve the thousands of other children like Michaela.

With your continued support, we can make sure that more children and families receive Child Life Services like art and music therapy when they need them the most.



Foundation Funded Integrated Care Program Offers Mental Health Treatment When and Where Children Need It

Patients at Children’s Hospital of Michigan’s General Pediatric and Medicine Clinic typically come for primary care, including wellness visits. But a special and equally important part of their initial visit is a mental health screening to assess behavioral, psychiatric or substance abuse problems. It is the first step in the clinic’s Integrated Care Program, which began with a grant from the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation and is now being funded by Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation.

Clinic social workers Victoria Meyring and Karen Gall alert physicians if there are indicators of a mental or behavioral issue based on a Pediatric Symptom Checklist completed by patients and their parents. Clinic pediatricians then decide whether to refer their young patients for treatment provided by psychology doctoral students from Wayne State University, who are supervised by licensed clinical psychologists.

“By being part of a medical clinic, we eliminate the stigma of mental health and financial and accessibility barriers,” says Karen Gall. The psychologist- trainees work with their patients and often their families once or twice a week for as long as necessary. Unlike most mental health treatment covered by public or private insurance, there is no cap on the number of visits—a major advantage, say clinic social workers.

Through support from the Foundation, almost 1,500 patients a year have been screened for mental health conditions and 200 have received treatment, according to Douglas Barnett, Ph.D., professor and director of the Wayne State University Psychology Training Clinic. This program fills an important need, he says, because it is difficult to find mental health services for children, even with health insurance.

Treatment and family education are provided for attention deficit disorder, depression, anxiety, school phobia, substance abuse, self-harming and suicidal thoughts. “We use research supported treatments and avoid using medication first. A child doesn’t need to have a diagnosis—we are big on prevention. We try to promote kids being more connected and becoming more successful in school,” says Dr. Barnett.

Many patients live in neighborhoods where instability and violence are not uncommon. As a result, some children may have behavioral issues due to trauma, clinic social workers say, and the mental health screening tool includes some special questions—“Has anything scary happened? Do you feel safe in your own home?” The clinic’s physicians, social workers and therapists meet monthly to discuss patients. “I learn if my patient is attending therapy, what the therapeutic goals are and what issues are being worked on. This allows the therapist and clinician to jointly develop a plan to better manage the patient’s overall health and well-being,” says Sharon Marshall, M.D., clinical chief, Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Michigan and associate professor of pediatrics at Wayne State University. “By being part of a medical clinic, we eliminate the stigma of mental health and financial and accessibility barriers.” pediatrics at Wayne State University. “The mind and body are equally important, and many physical conditions have behavioral components,” says Dr. Barnett. The program’s atmosphere is very optimistic, he says, because “kids get better.”

Shopping For A Cause with Shinola Detroit!

On Wednesday, March 7th the Foundation hosted our first Shopping For A Cause event at Shinola Detroit! A portion of the proceeds from event night benefitted the Foundation and our efforts to improve the health and wellness of children. Purchases throughout the night included a limited-edition Copenhagen bicycle, diamond jewelry, watches, and journals.

Some of our guests included, Luanne Thomas-Ewald, CEO of DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Leslie Love, State Representative, and Ron Fournier, Publisher for Crain’s Detroit Business. We would like to thank everyone who came and made the night a huge success. Be sure to be on the lookout for our next Shopping For A Cause event! To view all photos, visit our image gallery here. 

State Representative Leslie Love pictured above with CHMF Staff

Luanne Thomas-Ewald, CEO of DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan pictured above with CEO & President of the Foundation, Lawrence J. Burns

Ron Fournier, Publisher for Crain’s Detroit Business pictured above with CEO & President of the Foundation, Lawrence J. Burns


2/28/18 Rare Disease Day

Each year, the last day of February is recognized as Rare Disease Day. At Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, we are proud to support research and programs that enhance the health and wellness of children. Today, in honor of Rare Disease Day, we’re highlighting one of the programs we support that aims to make an impact on a rare disease.

The Foundation supports an annual Metabolic Clinic 2017 PKU (phenylketonuria) Picnic.

Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare condition in which your body cannot break down an amino acid called phenylalanine. Amino acids help build protein in your body. Without treatment, phenylalanine builds up in the blood and causes health problems. The approximate incident rate of PKU in the US is 0.01%. This means about 74 infants every day are diagnosed with PKU.

The purpose of the Metabolic Clinic PKU picnic allows patients and families dealing with PKU the opportunity to come together and grow educational opportunities and support groups.

Through our efforts, we encourage patients and their families to continue treatment for low protein and amino acid disorders and assist them with their dietary needs. We hope to encourage patients to return to diet and seek medical treatment and diet management.

Making Hospitals A Less Scary Place Through Partnerships and Passion 

January 21, 2017 – Detroit, Mich.— Since 2007, Spirit Halloween, the largest Halloween specialty retailer in the country, has raised more than $349,466 for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, to support the Child Life program at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. A hospital can be a scary place for an adult, let alone a child. Child Life programs, funded through the Spirit of Children program work to make the hospital look like and feel less scary.

The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation distributed coupons in the weeks leading up to the Halloween holiday, for families to shop at Spirit Halloween stores. With each purchase where the coupons were used, Spirit Halloween donated 10 percent of the sale to the Foundation. This year, the Foundation was awarded $55,886 towards the Child Life Department.

We are thankful to Spirit Halloween and the Spirit of Children program for their generosity.” stated Lawrence J. Burns, President & CEO of Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation. “Their continued support allows us to provide support for important programs and services that improve the health and wellness of children.”

The Cardiac Home Monitoring Program

The Cardiac Home Monitoring Program


Supporting Groundbreaking Pediatric Health Research to Improve the Care of High-Risk Infants with Heart Defects

The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is proud to support the Cardiac Home Monitoring Project. Since 2015, this project has received over $263,000 in grant funding.

Parents of high-risk infants with heart defects can take their babies home from Children’s Hospital of Michigan with peace of mind, thanks to a Ticker Tracker app made possible with the generous support of Hope for Hearts and the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation. The app links families to the hospital, where staff can track infants’ vital signs in real time.

The aim of the cardiac home-monitoring program is to keep vulnerable infants with complex cardiac conditions alive and well before and after the multiple heart surgeries these infants will need. Studies have found dramatically reduced mortality rates among fragile cardiac patients who are part of home-monitoring programs at other children’s hospitals, says Colette Squire, RN, BSN, and nurse coordinator for Children’s Hospital’s home-monitoring program.

Over two years, 24 patients have been enrolled in the program. At the end of 2017, 10 patients were participating, with five families using the Ticker Tracker app on loaned iPads. Parents can transmit the baby’s daily feedings, urine/bowel output, weight, and pulse oximetry readings through the app. Squire and doctors review the data and call families if they see anything of concern — “before they get really, really sick,” Squire says.

Jessia Lee is using a Ticker Tracker for her infant son, Lovell. Born without a tricuspid valve, Lovell spent five months in the hospital after his first surgery. He’ll need another surgery around his first birthday and a third around age 3. The monitoring program allows Lovell to be at home while still receiving closely monitored care.

Lee, 26, of Taylor says the program has been easy to use and alerts her if Lovell’s readings are off. So far, it flagged two infections that sent Lovell to the hospital for treatment. “It’s helped us a lot,” Lee says. “It feels good that you’re directly connected to the hospital.”

Squire is thankful for the generous support of donors to the program — and ultimately, for helping children get to the point where they can have a normal childhood. “We have one (child), she’s a year out now,” Squire says. “To see her just up and running, it is just amazing.”


Camp Kangaroo: Bereavement Camp helps kids develop coping skills

1 in 9 Americans experiences the death of a parent before they turn 20, while 1 in 7 loses either a parent or a sibling. The loss of a loved one is especially difficult for children. That’s where Camp Kangaroo steps in. Camp Kangaroo is a Season’s Hospice nationwide bereavement camp offered to children in the community who have recently suffered the death of a loved one.

In partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, Camp Kangaroo is offered to any bereaved child ages 5-18 in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties who need bereavement support. The camp is facilitated by trained clinical staff and dedicated volunteers from Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care in Michigan and the DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Serving metro Detroit in its third year, Camp Kangaroo aims to provide a safe and supportive environment for children to express their emotions and learn about effective coping strategies. Conversely, the camp facilitates an adult group for parents and guardians to learn how to support their children at home.

The three-day long camp focuses on providing education about death, providing peer support and help them engage in creative activities to honor their loved ones and begin to move through their grief.

This year’s camp welcomed 21 children to Madison High School and included a variety of music, exercise, art and writing therapy.

On the last day of camp, parents and guardians are invited to attend a graduation ceremony. Children share their work with the crowd and sing their Camp Song. The Camp Song is focused on their ideas and feeling about their grief journey and is intended to nurture hope and strength.

Camp Kangaroo is a Season’s Hospice program that is supported in part by CHMF.


Get Tied To A Cause!

Show your support for pediatric cancer programs with bow ties and scarves!
The bow tie has been a fashion icon of the well-dressed for many decades.The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation has combined this increasingly popular style with the cause of raising awareness of the work of the CHM Foundation, as well as raising funds to support pediatric cancer programs at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. The design for this bow tie and scarf was inspired by a Children’s Hospital of Michigan patient.

Order your bow tie or scarf here.