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enCourage Kids Foundation

enCourage Kids Foundation provides critical emotional and mental support when hospitalized children are often alone and despondent; many of those children are facing life-threatening illnesses. enCourage Kids addresses an under-the-radar gap in health insurance and hospital budgets: bringing comfort, happiness, and company to hospitalized children with Certified Child Life Specialists. 

The New York City-based enCourage Kids Foundation partners with 330 hospitals nationally to dispatch their more than 6,000 Certified Child Life Specialists, who are professionally trained to develop and communicate coping strategies for pediatric or children patients and their family members. The coping strategies help vulnerable children and their families to alleviate their anxiety, loneliness, and the stresses associated with hospital care. enCourage also puts its money where its mouth is in terms of supporting its hospital partners with more than $20 million for renovations, equipment, supplies, technology, and the creative arts. Since 2018, dogs and pet therapy have also been instrumental in providing love and interactive emotional support for pediatric patients and their families. 

With more than 3 million pediatric patients staying overnight in an American hospital annually, enCourage Kids embraces a philosophy of actionable empathy since 1985. enCourage Kids has served more than 1 million pediatric patients annually by recognizing that getting better doesn’t mean solely physical well-being, but emotional and mental support as well. For anyone who has been treated in a hospital, most of us can recognize that one of the key aspects of feeling lost and depressed is the lack of control of their environment and the subsequent sense of helplessness. 

enCourage has helped children who have undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy and those with fatal diseases, as well as patients who are nonetheless in the hospital for less life-threatening conditions. Their core team is highly dedicated to the cause, with the President & CEO, Michele Hall-Duncan, having started at enCourage Kids as a volunteer before joining full-time in 1996. Inspired by her own serious illness as a child, Michele felt passionate and deeply invested in enCourage’s mission, as does the entire team and Board. The ultimate goal is to help patients return home from a trying sickness, feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally rested; enCourage Kids is truly the epitome of pushing forward in challenging times.

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