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Improving Child Life at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco

By Tonya Newstetter September 13, 2015

For young patients at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, being sick isn’t only about battling disease. A long stay can mean missing out on major milestones like getting dressed up and dancing at prom, taking pictures with Santa, and trick-or-treating on Halloween. While these celebrations may seem ordinary, their absence makes being sick even more traumatic for children and teens. The Child Life Services team at UCSF works to create as much normalcy as possible within a hospital setting to help children emerge from the experience not only healed, but with memories of a full childhood.

Dance at UCSFThis year, the Foundation contributed $75,000 to support the growth of the Child Life Services program and invest in a higher quality of life for patients and their families. Along with grant support, Salesforce employees also gave their time and volunteered at events like the UCSF Prom, monthly bingo tournaments, a Mother’s Day celebration, and summer fun and games at the Benioff Beach Boardwalk.

At this year’s Prom, twenty-four Salesforce employees, together with child life specialists, put on a night to remember for 225 patients. The party was complete with donated prom fashions, food and drinks, music, professional prom photos, and dancing with San Francisco 49ers players!

In addition to milestones like Prom, patients miss the more routine elements of childhood like summer vacation. The Beach Boardwalk gave summer vacation back to 151 patients, who got their faces painted, played carnival games, and were treated to magic acts and caricature drawings. Entertainment and games were brought bedside for those unable to leave their rooms. Thirty-one Salesforce employees decorated, handed out prizes, and assisted patients with carnival games.

Beach at UCSFLooking ahead, the Child Life Services team is already planning fall and winter events like Halloween trick-or-treating and visits with Santa, both of which will be supported by Salesforce volunteers.

The UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals are inspiring organizations, and along with providing year-round volunteer support, Salesforce will be showcasing UCSF’s work at Dreamforce. Dr. Laura Esserman will join Marc Benioff at his Dreamforce keynote address on Wednesday, September 16th, and will be raising funds and support for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals at the September 17th Concert for Kids, a benefit in conjunction with the Dreamforce Gala.