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Volunteer Spotlight: Community Volunteer starts Kids for Kids Chapter

There are many different ways for volunteers to get involved and give back with Project Sunshine. Shaylynn Botta started volunteering with Project Sunshine as a community volunteer in December 2013. As Shaylynn recalls, "As a member of Project Sunshine I had the privilege of visiting with children in hospitals throughout New York to help spread sunshine in their days. Seeing kids fight for their lives made me realize not only how blessed I am with health but also how much our community, specifically the kids in our community, could do to make a difference in the lives of others, who although are struggling are still just like them."

After volunteering directly in the hospital for several months Shaylynn decided she wanted to make an even larger impact by helping her younger sister and her sister´s friends start a Kids for Kids chapter. Kids for Kids is Project Sunshine´s youth service program for volunteers under the age of 18. Shaylynn established the Project Sunshine Orange County Kids for Kids Chapter in February 2014. Her enthusiasm for Project Sunshine helped her rally together middle school and high school volunteers to become part of the movement. Since its inception, the chapter has assembled Creative Arts & Craft Kits and decorated Sunny Gram cards, which are sent to hospitals for children to enjoy. The chapter has also hosted fundraisers to benefit Project Sunshine�s mission.

To date the chapter has raised over $1,700, and has created hundreds of Sending Sunshine items to distribute to Project Sunshine partner medical facilities. Currently they are gearing up for Faces of Sunshine Family Skate Night, their largest fundraiser yet at a local rink. As Shaylynn explains, �This November, we will all come together to skate for the children we serve throughout the nation. So far we have raised $1,500 dollars for this event. This money will ensure that Project Sunshine can provide children�with the materials and activities they need to keep their days in medical facilities bright! I am so proud of all my volunteers´ hard work in making this event possible!�

Shaylynn and each of her volunteers are inspired to give back. Rebecca, a 9th grader and member of the chapter, explains how her inspiration comes through her past experiences. "Last year�I was stuck in the hospital for�three months. Days were long, hard, and painful but days when Project Sunshine came were�different. There was more hope and happiness those days, and since they helped me I decided to help them. By helping Project Sunshine I get a chance to help kids like me and that�s something to smile about."

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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