Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan Launches First Art Therapy Program at the University of Maryland Children's Hospital
Yumi C.A.R.E.S. Foundation Provides Critical Emotional Support to Young Patients
BALTIMORE, Md. – Yumi C.A.R.E.S. Foundation, an independent 501c3 organization established by Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan, today launched its first art therapy program for children at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH) at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). The unique, full-spectrum program, brings complimentary art therapy services to all pediatric patients and their families. The program is the first of its kind in Maryland, and represents First Lady Hogan’s passion for helping children in the hospital heal through art.
The “C.A.R.E.S.” in the foundation’s name stands for Children’s Art for Recovery, Empowerment and Strength. The mission of Yumi C.A.R.E.S. reflects First Lady Hogan’s personal views on the importance of art and its therapeutic benefits in assisting the well-being of pediatric patients and their families.
“As medical professionals, we are experts in healing the body, but art can help heal the emotional side of illness in a unique way,” says UMCH Director Steven J. Czinn, MD, who is also the Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Endowed Professor of Pediatrics and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and serves on the Yumi C.A.R.E.S. Foundation Board. “Yumi C.A.R.E.S. is bringing a much-needed service to help our young patients and their families cope. We are honored to have Mrs. Hogan and her foundation as a part of our team.”
Art therapy helps young patients facilitate emotional and physical healing and strength with the guidance of an art therapist. Art therapy can help patients build resiliency and coping skills; work through depression; manage pain and anxiety; and, give patients an opportunity for self-expression and a sense of control at a time when they may feel as if they have none. No artistic ability is needed; anyone can benefit. Art therapists are professionals with a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy. Like traditional therapy sessions, the art therapist talks with the patient about his or her goals and interests, and then suggests art-making that can include drawing, painting, clay sculpting or play therapy to express emotions and feelings.
“During my husband’s battle with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, we had the opportunity to meet so many courageous pediatric patients and their families,” said First Lady Yumi Hogan. “Their optimism and positive energy inspired both of us, and it is because of these brave children that I am starting this foundation. Partnering with the University of Maryland Medical Center – where my husband received treatment, and where my grandson received excellent care in their NICU – made perfect sense.”
For 13-year-old Josh Birch, the last few months had been rough; while all his friends were having fun and going to the beach during the summer, he was getting cancer treatment. Josh happens to have the same type of cancer that Governor Larry Hogan was treated for at UMMC just two years ago. “We had to postpone our trip to Disneyworld, and Josh was trying to put on a tough-guy face. The art therapy was the first time he was able to deal with a lot of emotions,” says his mother, Sarah Birch. “It has helped him get through it.”
“I am part of the care team, helping children work through psychological trauma from illness,” says Marty Weishaar, MFA, MA, the new full-time artist in residence at UMCH. “We talk about why they’re here and how they’re feeling, and make art.” Weishaar, who holds a Master of Arts degree in Art Therapy from George Washington University, says that because young children sometimes have a difficult time communicating in words how they’re feeling, he will ask them to relate their feelings to the weather. “If the child conveys that it is raining, for example, then we talk about why, and what we can do to make it not raining.” Weishaar previously taught art to middle and high school students in the Baltimore City Public Schools system. He and First Lady Hogan both attended American University, where they each earned their Master of Fine Arts degrees, and were brought together by a professor.
Art therapy is available free of charge to pediatric patients and their siblings on all UMCH inpatient units, the pediatric emergency department, child psychiatry and the outpatient cancer center. Individual and group art therapy sessions are offered. If you would like to make a donation to support art therapy at UMCH, please visit www.ummsfoundation.org/giving_umch.
About the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital
The University of Maryland Children’s Hospital is recognized throughout Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region as a resource for critically and chronically ill children. UMCH physicians and staff excel in combining state-of-the-art medicine with family-centered care. More than 100 physicians specialize in understanding how to treat conditions and diseases in children, including congenital heart conditions, asthma, epilepsy and gastrointestinal disorders. The Drs. Rouben and Violet Jiji Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides the highest level of care to the tiniest newborns.
About Yumi C.A.R.E.S.
Yumi C.A.R.E.S. Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization established to facilitate the development of art as a therapeutic activity for pediatric patients and their families in Maryland health care facilities. The mission of the Foundation, involving relatively new concepts in health care an artistic expression, reflects Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan’s personal views on the importance of art and its therapeutic benefits in assisting the well-being of pediatric patients and their families. The Foundation acquires and provides art supplies to participating patients; recruits and contracts with art therapists and other personnel who instruct and aid these patients in creating works of art while being treated at hospitals and other health care facilities in Maryland; and promotes awareness of the positive effects of art therapy for pediatric patients and their families through education and other means. The Foundation is not a unit or other instrumentality of state government. It is a tax-exempt charitable organization that receives no tax dollars, raises its own funds, and is run by an independent board of volunteers dedicated to the Foundation’s mission. For more information, contact Elaine Pevenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.