SHATTERED LIVES with Donna R. Gore, “LadyJustice”
Examining the effects of those who have survived violent crime and how it has impacted their lives.
Real people, real tragedy, real help.
Saturdays at 5pm ET Listen LIVE: CLICK HERE
Project Smile is a federally tax exempt non-profit organization which donates new and previously owned stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons, small toys and children’s reading books for police officers, fire fighters and paramedics to give to children. The goal of Project Smile is to provide all emergency responders throughout New England and eventually throughout the nation, with a continual supply of comfort items to help ease the pain and fear of traumatized children.
Trauma comes to children in many forms, whether it be family violence, sexual abuse, or as in the case of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elemtary School in Newtown, CT, crisis and tragedy.
Project Smile works diligently across New England to make these situations a little easier to bear for both the hurting victims, as well as those first responders who are trying to gather evidence, interviews and find solutions. By calming their fears and anxieties with comfort objects, everyone benefits, and the experience of trauma is lessened.
See Project Smile Website for more information
Shattered Lives is happy to present our guest for the hour,
Founder of Project Smile, Catherine Pisacane.
“Project Smile was born after I read a newspaper article about three brothers in New Jersey who were starved by their adoptive parents. When the police arrived to remove the brothers from the house, an officer gave one of the children a small stuffed tiger that he had with him. The child clung to it during his entire time at the police station and refused to let it go. After reading about that, I wanted to start a program which would allow as many police officers as possible to have something to give to a hurting child. A stuffed animal may be small, but its significance is huge.” – Catherine Pisacane
More Project Smile endeavors:
Project Smile also partners with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (formerly Department of Social Services) by donating stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons and reading books for children entering foster care in the Commonwealth. There are currently 8,000 children in Massachusetts in foster care each year, most of whom enter foster care with few, if any, personal possessions. A gift of a stuffed animal offers these children, who have been involved in very painful circumstances, a source of comfort.
In 2010, Project Smile expanded to partner with homeless shelters by donating stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons and reading books for children living in shelters. According to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, in October 2006, more than 1,400 families were staying in the state’s emergency shelter system each night. This included nearly 3,000 children — half of whom were preschoolers. Given these numbers the Coalition estimates that more than 3,000 families will be sheltered in state funded shelter during the course of the year.
Project Smile launched the Operation Elder Care program which provides elderly patients who are transitioning to life in a nursing home with a gift of a stuffed animal. The stuffed animals are designed to ease some of the trauma that the elderly experience when they are making that incredibly difficult transition to life in a nursing home. The gift of a stuffed animal at such a time not only provides a soft item that can be held, but is also a tangible gesture of warmth and compassion, both of which are greatly needed.