ArtPass

Transforming the Hospital Experience

Photo of Malcolm Asher
1 4

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

7/17/2001

Where are you located:

24 chapters registered across four continents [will add each location soon]

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

http://artpassinternational.org
http://facebook.com/artpassinternational

Date Started

9/1/2016

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

It started at my local children’s hospital. On my first day, I was asked to help in the overrun Hematology-Oncology outpatient playroom where I found about 10 kids who were clearly going through a very uncomfortable and vulnerable time. I saw these kids hooked up to blood transfusion machines and with needle ports sticking out of their bellies and I wanted nothing more than to alleviate some of that pain. But what could I, a brand new volunteer with no health care experience, possibly do for them? Somehow, my mind went to drawing -- something that always sent me to another world when I was a kid. My artwork always helped me zone out, express myself, and feel better if I was confused or down. I didn’t know then what I know now: art has incredible healing qualities which we are only beginning to fully understand.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Every single year, 5.4 million kids die from easily treatable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea, but the hospital remains on average one of kids four biggest fears. Because of the isolation that kids endure in hospitals here in America and because of the horrible conditions and quality of life in hospitals in developing countries, a huge stigma surrounds hospitalization and many kids are afraid to seek out medical attention.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

ArtPass is the only nonprofit solely focused on changing how kids perceive and experience the hospital. Through the power of art, we hope to eradicate the stigma surrounding hospitalization, encourage more kids to seek out medical attention, and improve the quality of life as a whole in the hospital. We offer two solutions, one domestic and one international. Domestically, we sponsor unique in-hospital art programs called PassALONG and PassPALS that help hospitalized youth not only create art but share their art with other kids in the hospital. Sharing art has been largely overlooked in art therapy and can greatly reduce that isolation kids endure in the hospital while fostering positivity, confidence, and courage. Internationally our #Artfor195 campaign is seeking to make art supplies accessible to kids in all hospitals across the world and to educate and encourage kids to seek out medical attention when they feel symptoms of common yet lethal diseases. By bringing thousands of art supplies to children's hospitals and advocating at schools and in communities in developing areas of the world, we are remolding how kids view the hospital so it doesn't have to be such a scary place.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

There was a girl in Cape Coast, Ghana, about 12 years old, who fell very ill and became partially paralyzed. It was obvious how drained and uncomfortable she felt. The only entertaining outlet some of these hospitalized kids had was to simply walk around the small hospital room but she couldn't even do that. I worked in her ward of the hospital for about a week and was heartbroken every time she would put her arm over her eyes and cry alone. Finally, I was able to present to her an ArtPass "PassPACK" of art supplies and her entire face lit up. I saw her grin for the next two hours and over the next two days I was in that unit, she was enthralled in her artwork. It was obvious that her feelings of sadness and loneliness were partially alleviated because of our pack of art supplies. I believe that those supplies will alter how she perceives the hospital for the rest of her life.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

There are many organizations that use art therapy to heal, and there are many organizations that provide medical supplies and equipment to hospitals in need. ArtPass is reinventing how we think about these two areas of support and we are addressing the larger unaddressed need. While part of healing is medical treatment, another part of healing is emotional and mental health. If kids are so scared of the hospital, they can't receive medical treatment before it might be too late. And if kids inside the hospital are left with nothing productive to do, their mental health will be extremely poor.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

To date, we have registered 24 chapters across four continents and our programs and initiatives have reached almost 2,000 hospitalized kids and we are quickly working towards our goal of reaching 10,000 kids by the end of the year. In addition, our Global Ambassadors are also now going into schools in their local communities to share the work ArtPass is doing and educate these students (ages 4-18) around the importance of seeking out medical attention when symptoms for preventable disease arise. Every day, kids and adults from some of the most rural regions of the world message me on Facebook to express how large of an impact ArtPass is or could making in their local communities. We have even received a request from our Ghana branch to start an official ArtPass office so they can go directly to the Ghanian government to seek out more support and a wider presence for ArtPass in Ghana.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

The next step is to continue to scale. From all of the messages we've received and from we know first-hand, there are MILLIONS of more kids who can benefit from our programs and initiatives. We plan to reach more kids by continuing to grow our Global Ambassador network to start more chapters (with the goal of registering branches on every continent in the world), partnering with many more nonprofit organizations and companies and building relationships with more hospitals. Additionally, we want to bring awareness to many other people around the issues that we're working with through continuing our education and advocacy efforts.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

The largest thing we need is funding. We've calculated that it costs us about $1 to support one hospitalized kid. While this cost is low, millions of kids are hospitalized every year and we're seeing that demand for our programs and initiatives are far greater than we can currently handle. We're currently in the sweet spot where we've established the need and have shown tangible results, but our organization is still malleable. The support provided by T-Mobile and Ashoka would be immeasurable. From the business expertise from both companies, to the opportunities to learn from other professionals and young changemakers, to the chance to receive seed funding and other prizes, the Changemaker Lab would bring ArtPass to an entirely new level.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Something I believe strongly in is the power of youth. Young people are so frequently disregarded but offer so many fresh, new perspectives and offer a drive and passion is that incredibly strong. This is why we value our ArtPass Global Ambassador network so greatly. It's young people who have propelled our growth, and it's those young people who help inspire me every day by showing new ways we can share our story, fundraise, and advocate. It's also why our Executive Team is comprised 100% of other teens. I look forward to meeting more young people along my journey through our and work with many more of them on this project through our Global Ambassador network and other ventures.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Search engine
  • Recommended by others
  • In-person event
  • Email
  • Word of mouth

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Photo of Kelly Clark
Team

Malcolm -- what a brilliant idea! I can see your project making the lives of millions of little ones so much better, here at home and around the world. I see your unique idea being a gamechanger in the healthcare field. Wishing you the best of luck.