KindCrafters gathered last night for their March service project. They partnered with The Shadow Buddies Foundation. The Shadow Buddies Foundation is a children's charity that provides support to children with severe illnesses and disabilities. They have 31 different "Shadow Buddy" dolls that offer seriously ill or medically challenged children the companionship of a child "just like me".
Executive Director, Marty Postlethwait, began the foundation after her son, Miles, was born with midline congenital birth defects. He had dozens of surgeries at a very young age and told his mom how he wished he had a friend "just like him." This gave Marty the idea of the shadow buddy dolls and the rest, as they say, is history!
Marty spoke to the families at the beginning of the event, sharing her story of how Shadow Buddies all started. She showed them sample of the shadow buddies and how they went from starting with just 4 buddies, to now making 31 different buddies including the following-burn buddy, cerebral palsy/pump buddy, cleft lip/palate buddy, day surgery buddy, diabetic buddy, down syndrome buddy, guardian angel buddy, heart buddy, HIV/AIDS buddy, identification buddy, liver transplant buddy, lung transplant buddy, oncology port-a-cath buddy, orthopedic buddy, ostomy buddy, pre-op buddy, preemie buddy, rescue buddy, respiratory buddy, Royals buddy, seizure buddy, self-cath buddy, senior buddy, sibling buddy, Sporting KC buddy, sickle cell buddy, survivor buddy, tracheostomy buddy, and vision buddy. You can see all the buddies by clicking here.
Here are a few samples of the buddies! Notice the details and research that has gone into the illnesses that these children and parents are facing. What comfort they must bring to the families!
Their mission is to foster compassion and awareness of differences. (Sounds similar to KindCraft's mission right?!) Each buddy is made to represent a child’s medical or emotional condition, with the goal of giving children with severe illnesses and disabilities a friend “just like me.”
After learning about the foundation, it was time to get to work. There were a variety of projects for families to choose from. Some started with making a superhero cape for the Superhero Shadow Buddy. Several KindCraft volunteers put countless hours into make cardboard templates out of boxes. At the event, the capes were traced and cut out-all prepped and ready to be sewn! Marty explained that their foundation also does Art Therapy and they allow kids to draw on the capes!
Of course every superhero needs a mask to go along with their cape! So another project offered to families was tracing and cutting out superhero masks! These are then packaged neatly with the superhero capes.
Here is what a burn buddy looks like.
These KindCrafters worked so hard on cutting gauze rolls to smaller rolls. They are used for the burn shadow buddies.
Some families chose to make tutu's for the shadow buddies. They came out SO cute!!
An easier project for some of the younger KindCrafters was to cut string for female shadow buddies that have pigtails. Can't have a pigtail without a cute bow!
There was also fleece available for KindCrafters to cut for the shadow buddies.
The most popular project was adding embellishments to these adorable jean purses that will be given to girls in wheelchairs. They decorated the pocket of the jeans and following the event, a strap will be added to the purse :)
Several families had left prior to our group picture but ALL the kiddos did an AMAZING job. They were so focused and worked very hard on all the projects. The Shadow Buddies Foundation is such a wonderful organization. We encourage you to learn more about them!
Special shoutout to Marty and her team for coming to KindCraft and allowing us to help teach our families a bit about having compassion for those with illnesses and disabilities.
Thank you to all the KindCraft volunteers who worked behind the scenes to make this event successful, including template makers, box donors, set up crew, supply pick up, table set up, registration table, clean up crew (including the amazing Sunnyside Elementary school custodian)! It truly takes a village and we are so thankful for our KindCraft village!