The “Help a Child Initiative” is a program started in October of 2009 by Frank Ciarleglio, the Instructor at the Academy of Kempo Martial Arts in Hamden, to help children with life threatening diseases. “Our program is designed to collect items such as arts and crafts material for children as young as infant to 21 years of age. These items will include but not be limited to, Tempera Paints, sand art kits, bead kits, window painting kits, wood projects and jewelry kits. We are also collecting items that can be decorated, such as white tee shirts, white pillowcases, I-pod cases and cloth bags and general items needed to assist the Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer and the Child Life Specialist-Pediatric Specialty Clinic at the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. This is still one of our major goals with the program,” said Ciarleglio. “But because of the great response that we have had the program has grown into much more. We are also collecting toys, books, games and pretty much anything that a child can play with while they are undergoing treatments. The program also collects revenues so that the Tommy Fund will continue to have a budget built in to purchase what they need so the Child Life Specialist can work with the children who are undergoing cancer treatments. Prior to 2010, there really was not a budget for arts and crafts, and all of the arts and crafts were donated, but because of the “Help a Child Initiative”, the Tommy Fund was able to have a small budget for these items which have such an important impact with the children. The revenues also assist the Tommy Fund in continuing their research to find a cure for cancer and assist families that have children who are in a treatment program,” Ciarleglio continued.
Recently the Ciarleglio family dropped off donations that were collected by the Academy of Kempo’s “Help a Child Initiative”. This fundraiser has been an ongoing project for the Academy, “We have been very fortunate to have the support of our students, family members and friends at the Academy with this ongoing project” said Ciarleglio.
“Now we need your help. We are now entering our fourth annual push for this fundraiser for the Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer,” said Ciarleglio. The Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer is an organization that acts as a helping hand to the pediatric oncology section of the department of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital and the Yale Cancer Center, working alongside the dedicated professionals in the field. Through their collaborative efforts, they are able to diagnose and provide treatment to children with blood disorders and malignancies, conduct research and teaching in the field of childhood cancer, and support entire families throughout a child’s treatment.
This fundraiser is to help provide the children who are going through treatments a little bit of serenity. The children who are undergoing treatment either are admitted into the hospital, or are going to the Children’s Cancer Clinic. Their treatment time at the clinic can range anywhere from an hour to eight hours. “Being a parent of a child who has undergone such treatment, I have seen firsthand the joy and relief from reality the children experience sitting at the craft table. The children play and laugh as they create something special,” said Ciarleglio.
Kind people and organizations throughout the state and beyond who donate are the sole providers of the crafts that the children make. The Academy is reaching out to every parent and organization to get involved with this “Help a Child Initiative”. “If you are a parent or relative of a child that has or has had any ailments, I am sure this will reach you in some way that cannot fully be put into words. The Tommy Fund helps these children and their families in many ways, and with your help they can further their support,” said Ciarleglio.
The Academy has a list of items they are collecting as well as a wish list from the Child Life Specialist-Pediatric Specialty Clinic on its web site, www.academyofkempo.com. “I know that in these economically challenging times that it is hard for people to find anything extra in their budget, but even one item will help to make a difference,” Ciarleglio said.
All products can be dropped off at the Academy of Kempo Martial Arts, located at 1890 Dixwell Avenue, Hamden Connecticut 06514 or at Packard’s Martial Arts, located at 185 Research Drive, Milford, Connecticut 06460. For the best times to bring in your donation please call, the Academy in Hamden at 203-288-9990 or Packard’s in Milford at 203-878-4334. For more information on how to get involved, you can contact the Academy at (203) 288-9990, or visit them on the web at www.academyofkempo.com.
Monetary contributions are welcome in check form made out to the Tommy Fund or by visiting the Tommy Fund web site at www.tommyfund.org. Please note your check or on-line donation “Help a Child Initiative” so the Tommy Fund will know how to allocate your contribution.