For kids who go through the hospital experience the first time, it can be incredibly scary and challenging and isolating, especially in a lot of these developing countries because a lot of the hospitals don’t have the resources they need.
One of the biggest problems we have today is 5.6 million kids are dying every year of preventable diseases. There’s such a large stigma that surrounds that experience that kids will conceal their symptoms until those easily treatable diseases can become fatal.
The work I’m doing with Art Pass is rooted in de-stigmatizing hospitalization for these kids, all through the vehicle of art, so they can view the hospital as a resource rather than an anxiety when these easily treatable diseases arise.
To date, Art Pass is registered over 150 chapters across almost 80 countries, and with the 500 global ambassadors that work within these chapters, we’ve created this curriculum of resources for them to use and interpret to fit the needs of their own communities.
I’m so proud to see that tens of thousands of kids across the world are now less scared of the hospital so they can receive the care they need. Being a teen, running a nonprofit and a project has often been a very isolating experience. This award has completely changed the trajectory of my life and my work. It’s shown me that there really is this community of other like-minded teens out there looking to find new and original and innovative solutions to really create this huge impact.