CHOP Cultivates Young Chefs, Nature Lovers and Bookworms through Innovative Community Program

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Young girl holding a book In addition to healing children every day, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) aims to inspire their patients and families — and even have an impact on how children might live their lives as adults. The CHOP Cares Community Grant Program, celebrating its fifth anniversary this fall, has become a meaningful part of the culture of inspiration and giving at the hospital, as well as extending its reach into local communities. More than 120 grants have been awarded.

CHOP Cares Community Grants are competitive awards given to CHOP employees seeking funding for a volunteer effort to both enhance the health of local children and fulfill an important community need. Grants act as seed funding for a new or successful existing project with funds stemming from the sale of CHOP specialty license plates, donations and hospital contributions. Projects are chosen by the CHOP Community Advisory Board (CAB), chaired by David M. Rosenberg, President, David & Marjorie Rosenberg Family Foundation.

Employees Volunteer Their Time

“I’m continually impressed by the amount of volunteer time CHOP employees spend to improve their communities,” says Rosenberg. “The grants this program provides serve as a real springboard for significant community improvement. It’s amazing to see how much can be accomplished with a small amount of funding and such dedicated volunteers.”

Children with bowls of fresh vegetables One of many programs crediting its start to seed funding from a CHOP Cares Community Grant is the CHOP Gardens Books and Cooks Series. Through this series, kids and caregivers enjoy a story from a guest reader, and a cooking demonstration of a healthy recipe by an Aramark chef, complete with samples. Children in attendance even bring home a book and a bookmark with the healthy recipe.

Fun and Inspiration

Books and Cooks first rolled out at the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center and the rooftop garden at CHOP’s Seashore House. Since then, with the support of additional funding from the William Penn Foundation and GIANT, programming has been added at People’s Emergency Center, a homeless shelter in West Philadelphia for mothers and children. Now Books and Cooks holds more than a dozen events a year at these three sites, hopefully motivating the more than 175 children attending to read, cook a healthy dish or simply enjoy nature.

Steve Wilmot, Senior Director, CHOP Practice Management Services, says it best: “I really believe that a thousand small changes add up to the greatest change possible. Perhaps a future chef or musician was inspired yesterday, or a healthy salad will end up on a table somewhere.”   

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