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Volunteer Spotlight: Los Angeles

Project Sunshine LA volunteers spread sunshine at Children�s Hospital Los Angeles. From L to R: Joe Saladino, Naira Goukasian, Sinorice Moss, Stella Shin, Shirley Weiss, Betsy Simon, John Ridley.

Project Sunshine has volunteer chapters nationwide, from New York to Texas to California. One of the fastest growing and most vibrant of these is Project Sunshine Los Angeles, which is led by founding Chapter Leaders Joe Saladino and Stella Shin. Under Joe and Stella�s leadership, Project Sunshine LA provides Creative Arts & Crafts programming to children and families at Children�s Hospital Los Angeles. Since they started with monthly programs and a small group of volunteers in 2013, the chapter has quickly grown to double its reach by increasing its programs to twice a month, and growing its membership to 100 volunteers.

Part of what makes the programs so special is the wonderful relationship with Children�s Hospital Los Angeles. �Working with Project Sunshine has been such a delight and our patients absolutely love the activities they provide. We look forward to many years of partnering with them to bring smiles to our patients� faces,� says Samantha Lamb, Artists Program Coordinator at Children�s Hospital Los Angeles, who works closely with Joe and Stella to coordinate each program.

In addition to the great support from the hospital, and the dedication of Joe, Stella and the other volunteers, what truly make the programs special are the children. "It´s great to see kids use their creativity and imagination to take the craft to a whole other level," Joe says. And Stella adds, "I love the kids. I love their smiles, laughter, innocence. Just spending time with them makes me happy. I wanted to help out and give love, but I actually feel like I am getting a lot more in return."

Project Sunshine LA provides Creative Arts and Crafts for these children and families, but they also do so much more. Joe says it best when describing what Project Sunshine means to him. "I love Project Sunshine because of the direct impact I�m able to make with each visit. Providing a sense of normalcy is so key for patients and their families, and nothing is more rewarding than leaving a visit knowing you´ve done that while making a connection with families, patients, hospital staff and volunteers alike."

More Volunteer Stories of Interest

Sports Illustrated model, Damaris Lewis, volunteered for her second year as a Project Sunshine Dance Camp instructor to empower young women through dance.
Emilio Delgado, who has played Luis on Sesame Street for 40 years, brought sunshine to pediatric patients at Mount Sinai´s KidZone as part of Project Sunshine´s Book Club
     

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