We help kids feel good, so they can get well.
Each year, millions of lives are affected by pediatric illness or injury and disrupted by the stress and anxiety it causes. We want all families to know that if your child gets sick, Project Sunshine is there for you.
We partner with medical centers across the United States and in four international locations to meet the non-medical, social-emotional needs of children dealing with illnesses. Project Sunshine promotes key elements of childhood like play, learning, and socialization in the hospital environment – restoring a crucial sense of normalcy for pediatric patients and their families.
While medical experts deliver treatment, we deliver smiles.
Together, we brighten lives.
Project Sunshine recruits and trains volunteers – community members, college students, corporations, and youth – to deliver activities. Our programs spark creativity, promote self-esteem, and provide a needed distraction. Most of all, they let young patients act and feel like kids during emotionally and physically challenging times.
It all started with one volunteer.
Project Sunshine was founded in 1998 by then-college student Joseph Weilgus. Joe visited a friend in the hospital and was overwhelmed by the number of young patients he witnessed looking lonely and bored in their rooms. All it took was a dream – and a clown costume – to realize that the hospital is an environment where medicine and smiles can meet.
Meet Project Sunshine’s visionary and founder.
Meet the Team
Project Sunshine's staff is the heart of the organization. We are passionate about kids and big fans of fun. We strive to embody the spirit of our founder and make every day and every smile count.
“Project Sunshine is helping us and a lot of others to create an environment that is family - and child - friendly, that helps people cope with what is a very stressful time in their lives. Project Sunshine is so important to the psychological well-being of patients and families.”
Dr. Ira ParnessChief of Pediatric Cardiology at Mt. Sinai Hospital
“I joined Project Sunshine in order to give back to my community, but what I didn’t expect was to receive so much in return. I gained leadership skills, a network of dedicated and compassionate volunteers, and the opportunity to meet incredible kids and families along the way.”
Nitasha S.Former Stony Brook University Chapter Leader
“Thank you Project Sunshine for this simple art project for my daughter. She's seven, and sitting through these long appointments can be a lot for her.”
LeniMother of a 7 year old cardiology patient
“My department is full of superheroes! We had a patient who was too afraid and in pain to talk. Once his mask was covered in jewels and his cape had a superhero sigil, he whispered that his superpower was 'being brave.'”
Teresa S.MA, CCLS, Child Life Program Coordinator
“As always the great support, enthusiasm, hard work and HEART that Project Sunshine brings to everything you do is so appreciated. Have you ever seen bigger smiles than were on those families’ faces yesterday?”
VirginiaChildren's Social Work Department