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painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

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painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by colormehappy on Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:48 am

i have volunteered to FP for free at a Halloween party for a Children's Hospital tomorrow afternoon. I was contacted by a lady that had been searching for a face painter in the hospital area, over an hour's drive for me. Everyone she asked turned her down. I can understand where everyone is coming from... material costs, gas prices and a crappy economy...etc. The hospital is not putting on this party. It's a small Christain group of maybe 4 volunteers, other than myself, that wanted to throw this party for the kids. Saturday is supposed to be National "Make a Difference Day" or something like that, and they wanted to do something nice for the them.

I never FP for free. Not even at birthday parties of kids I know, but I know this is a really good cause. I am also trying to look at what this might lead to. This is at a very large hospital system, and it will give me a chance to make some contacts at the hospital itself. I know they have several large events they host each year...so, who knows, right?

There are 65 children in the hospital, and I've been told a majority of them will be too sick to leave their rooms. We will have a party for the children that are able, then go room-to-room for those that can't come join in. My mom and I will be doing Halloween-themed cheek art. I'm sure some children won't even be well enough for that, so I'm taking stickers and temp. tattoos as well.

I'm just sooo nervous!!! I don't know what to expect, and I'm afraid seeing some of the really sick children might make me cry. Sad

Has anyone ever painted at anything like this? Any advice/tips to offer?


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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by SuzySparkles on Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:55 am

I face painted at the Childrens Hospital by my house and they paid me. Hospitals have a lot of money and if they can't afford a face painters wages, they shouldn't have one...

It was sad, and I had a favorite little guy that I could have stayed with all day... but for the most part it is okay... Smile
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by colormehappy on Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:05 am

the hospital is not putting on the party. it's a faith-based group that contacted the hospital about doing it for the kids. the group usually does things for underprivileged kids, and thought this would be a nice thing.

if it was the hospital was throwing the party, i wouldn't have offered unless they paid. BUT i know the hospital itself does throw a christmas party for the children. so maybe this will lead to those kinds of things.


Last edited by colormehappy on Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:10 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : doubled words)
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by SuzySparkles on Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:08 am

ok that makes more sense!! Smile
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by pixieface on Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:17 am

I can imagine you must be nervous - what a great thing to do - takes such courage - my hat is off to you. I cry five minutes into sad movies when nothing bad has happened yet! Just maybe try to stay in the moment? You are bringing a lot of happiness, and that's exactly what these kids need I'm sure - some laughing and not having to feel sick. To feel both ordinary and special at the same time. Don't let your thoughts dwell on their sickness but the smiles you are putting on their faces along with your paint!
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by BluAngL83 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:20 am

Several SEVERAL years ago, when I was 12, My family celebrated christmas in bolivia. Everytime we go, we bring a bunch of toys (donated, used, or new) and go to the hospital and start at the burn unit and hand out the toys. I just mentally prepared myself and walked in with a huge Smile on my face and acted like I didnt see anything wrong with them (a la Hal from the movie Shallow Hal when he visits the kids in the same unit) and gave them their toy. Their faces where so happy with joy and If felt really good to do that for them. Afterwards, when we left, I had a good cry in my mother's arms, but I was thankful for all the blessings I had.
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by Sam on Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:27 am

Although I have not painted at a hospital, I paint for a huge Make A Wish event every summer. Many of the children that attend are very ill, and I never make it through without crying at some point. I try to remember that even though it is hard on the heart strings, these are kids who need a littlle taste of normal now and then. And at the end, when you turn that mirror around, the smiles that you get are worth every tear.
Good luck, have fun, and I hope the hospital keeps you in mind for their events!!
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by ChangingFaceDesigns on Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:34 am

Back in July I painted for one of the hospitals in my area for the Childrens oncology ward. It was for their end of the summer cookout at a venue on the beach. Lots of kids and lots of fun. It was easy to not focus so much on the illness itself because it was not done in the hospital and the kids were excited to be there and really wanted have fun and that made it fun for me.
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by colormehappy on Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:55 am

Grr! I just wrote out a long reply & posted it to another thread of mine. Need more coffee!! lol

Thanks for the encouragement. Its just an uneasy feeling not knowing what to expect.

Back in the summer, I painted at "Dream Night" at the zoo near the hospital. I was pulled in by another painter to help, and the hospital paid us well. But she was their contact, not me. I'd like to get my name in the hat too. I thought "Dream Night" was a fundraiser. But after talking with parents, I found out it's an event for children that have had major illness/surgery in the past year or so.

I painted one little boy as tiger. His mother told me that he had just had open heart surgery 3 weeks prior and this was his first time out since. He still had bandages over his incision. Later, she sent me his picture with the tiger face and said that the FP was his favorite part of the night and thanked me for making her "miracle boy" happy that night.
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by chicneek on Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:28 pm

I think it is wonderful. Try to follow the strictest sanitary methods you can and check if there are specific rules. I did make-up at a formal party at our nursing home yesterday. I was just there to volunteer to tell a story(I was a bit early because they told me the wrong time) but when one of the activity directors asked if anyone wanted to find out if any of the ladies wanted makeup and to apply it no one jumped at it so I did it. She had a little compact of blush, 1 tube of lipstick and some eyeshadow. I said I'd use the lipstick and eyeshadow, asked her for some q-tips, handsanitizer and wipes and went room to room. I don't think she even thought about the sanitary issues but was so happy I did. Looking into their eyes and helping them feel beautiful by gentle touches and kind words made the moments so very special and I received such a gift in the experience.
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by pixieface on Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:37 pm

chickneek - thank you so much - I have a particular fondness for helping out at nursing homes and that was wisdom I'm glad you shared!
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by tanyamaldo119 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:55 pm

It is hard seeing a sick child but you have to remember that it is hard to bring a child joy if you don't look joyful. Just have to push through that sadness and take them away from that world of sadness just for a few minutes. Let them forget the hospital walls, IV's and pain just for a little bit because that happiness will last longer than the 5-10 minutes it takes you to paint them.
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by Tash on Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:53 pm

I think it's great you are doing it but I would call the hospital first and ask about there sanitary procedures concerning what you are going to do.
I know someone that paints for the Hospitals here and she has to have a separate kit just to do it.
She uses a different sponge and brush with each child and spray her paints with antibacterial spray between each kid. She has a trolly specially made to wheel from bed to bed.
She told me a story about painting a child and then the child needing to go for a CT scan and the doctors asking her if there was any metal traces in her glitter at all - she couldn't be 100% sure and they had to remove the paint just in case - she ran down to recovery and painted the child again before they came back to the room because they were so upset about it.
As I said I think it's sooo wonderful you are doing this - just make sure you have all your bases covered before you show up.
Good luck and good on you! Very Happy
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by Psalmbook on Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:15 pm

I've painted for Make a Wish, Dreams Come True, our churches Special Needs Easter Egg Hunt & in Zimbabwe, Africa. My biggest advice is to use 1 sponge per child & sanitize your brushes(Shannon Fennel style).

Zimbabwe was so fun because the kids there had never been face painted with real face paint before & never like what we paint. I had one little guy that would not give up the mirror. He was so happy!
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by DragonFly on Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:58 pm

This is so awesome to hear. Honestly, I cannot wait until I am good enough to do a charity painting for a hospital or an orphanage. I think it would be such privilege to make someone so happy with something you made.

I was also wondering about doing something like that in hospitals, I guess the rules are different for diff. hospitals and wards.

Anyway, I hope everything goes well!

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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by colormehappy on Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:36 pm

Today went pretty well. I only painted about 20 faces, including the parents that wanted to get painted with their kids. I held up better than I thought I would, but one of the other volunteers had a breakdown moment. The party lasted nearly 3 hours, so by the time they were ready to do the room-to-room tour, I had to leave bc it was over an hour's drive home and I have to get ready for a festival tomorrow. I felt bad, but everyone was just grateful I could come at all. But, I'm not so sure painting some of the kids too sick to leave their rooms was a great idea anyway. Although, I'd love to go back and work their again sometime.

One thing I forgot to mention in my earlier post, is this is a hospital that has the same kind of motto as St. Jude...no child is ever turned away bc of their family's inability to pay. I met 2 sisters that were there all the way from Florida. I think they both had the disease that makes their bones very brittle, so they break easy. Both were in wheelchairs with of broken legs, and one of them had a broken arm.

It was such a good feeling making those kids smile. But it's sad knowing that I get to leave and go home and get back to my routine, while they are still there stuck in the hospital. The lady that had contacted me about volunteering said one of the local face painters she asked said they didn't volunteer their painting bc their was nothing in it for them. It did make me a little sad to hear that. I know we all put a lot of money into our supplies and everything....but sometimes...I think it's worth looking at a situation and saying, I could help out a little. And I did get something out of it...in the smiling faces of those kids today.

On a side note...the local Fox News channel was their filming everyone today, so we will get some great exposure out of it Very Happy
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by DragonFly on Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:56 pm

I'm glad to hear everything went well. I know I would have been a nervous wreck through all of that.
And I'm glad that you got some exposure, charity pays off. Maybe not visibly and not immediately, but it definitely does. What kind of designs did you end up doing the most, and how did you determine whether to paint the kid or not (if he/she looked too sick). Or was everyone allowed to be painted?
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by colormehappy on Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:26 pm

We had decided to only paint Halloween-themed cheek art for the kids. Full faces just didn't seem like a good idea. Our 2 most popular were a glowing Jack-o-Lantern and a flying ghost. All of the kids that were well enough to come to the party were allowed to be painted if they wanted. I think only 2 kids did not want to be painted, but their moms got painted in attempt to talk them into it. Even the kids that were in wheelchairs and rolling cart-like beds wanted to get painted. It was tricky having to bend and work in weird positions.

One little girl dressed as a witch (they provided costumes for the kids), wanted some witch's eyebrows and some webs around her eyes. She had a feeding tube in her nose, and it was taped to her cheek close to the bottom of her left eye. It was tricky, but I made it work. She was so happy and thought it was "awesome."

The story just was on the news. I got a little misty-eyed remembering those kids.
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by tanyamaldo119 on Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:33 am


Awww That's great! Im sure that felt really good to make them happy and bring a little fun to their day. And the news exposure doesn't hurt either. At least you gave it a try and didn't let fear discourage you from trying that sort of thing.
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by pixieface on Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:48 am

I teared up just reading about your experience - I'm so glad it went well! Thank you for sharing as it is very inspiring :-) Yeah you!
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by AvidLebon on Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:22 pm

Are these the hospital safe paints? http://www.mehron.com/Fantasy_F_X_Makeup_p/ffx.htm

I was thinking instead of my regular tag kit to use these on a piece of cardboard, paint with q-tips, and throw away everything including sponges for the dangerous airborn rooms. Not sure about using my brushes and washing them for less dangerous rooms or if I should just use Qtips for it all- I've got to practice with Q's as I don't know how it looks in comparison to brushes, having only one size and all.

Edit: Also, I've never heard about the glow or luminescent ones before- are those also safe?
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by fesspenter on Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:40 pm

Dear AvidLebon:
I have been volunteer face painting at SickKids Hospital since October 31, 1998.
I do not bring my kit into rooms with airborne precautions. If I do go in, I have been fitted with an N-95 face protector, gloves and gown.
I have almost 100 brushes. My brushes NEVER go back into the paint after they have touched a child's face at SickKids. They get washed, rinsed, and dipped in 70% isopropyl alcohol and left to airdry. A higher percentage of alcohol dries too fast to be effective to sterilize the brushes. I use dollar store sponges cut into varying sized pieces with an electric knife. I throw the sponges away.
I am allergic to the face paints that WalMart brings out at Halloween, Palmer and Derivan. I have been using MAC, Kryolan, Ben Nye Aquacolor, FAB, Diamond F/X, TAG over the past 14 years. I am tracked closely. If I have every spread MRSA, or caused an allergic reaction, SickKids would know, and I would be notified. A child sneezed on my kit about 10 years ago. I turned my kit over to Infectious Disease Control to have it tested. They found no bacteria or fungus growing in my kit. There were a few with a virus on the top layer (the ones sneezed on). They tested it a week later and there were NO bacteria or virus growing in my paint. I did not have to toss my paints. Live and learn.
I always use Q-Tips on the lips. Infectious Disease Control has okayed me using a brush, and dipping it in 70% isopropyl alcohol will sterilize my brush. While I do not double dip my brush, I DO double load, or triple load my brush to create flowers without having to reload frequently.
Now, I walk out of the hospital feeling full, like I have gotten something, instead of giving something.

Happy, Safe Painting!
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Re: painting at the Children's Hospital tomorrow ~ nervous!!

Post by Gretchen on Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:51 pm

There was a really good recent thread on this. Check out my August 2012 free e-newsletter, issue #8 (you can download for free HERE)...to read a related story that I published, written by a forum member who paints regularly in a children's hospital. I think you'll be inspired! :-)
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