The mission of Building Better Days is to provide building toys for hospitalized children in Maryland. We provide a building toy for each child admitted for two or more nights in the hospital, recovering from surgery or who has a serious illness and is in and out of the hospital often.
We currently serve pediatric patients at hospitals in Eastern Maryland.
We were founded by Ben who was diagnosed with lymphoma in the Spring of 2015 when he was 12 years old. He spent many long days and weeks in the hospital and he enjoyed playing with building toys because he could stay in bed and play with them when he was too sick to get up. Once Ben finished his treatment protocol, he wanted to help other children who had to spend time in the hospital. He decided to create Building Better Days to give building toys to other children since they were what made his days better
Building toys help children to make social connections with their caregivers and other children in the hospital ward. They give children a sense of accomplishment and control (especially important in the hospital since children lose almost all their decision-making power due to treatment protocols). Creating and building gives them a chance to make their own decisions and affect an outcome which helps develop a healthy self-esteem while being hospitalized. Building toys also help children focus on fine motor skills by manipulating pieces and use larger motor skills by sitting upright to build. Some medications may affect motor skills, so building is a way to practice these skills and improve physical health.
What we have heard
"Thank you for the Lego robot toy! The nurse had a hard time starting an iv and had to try 3 times. [He] was crying and upset and it really helped getting to choose a toy after. He had surgery this morning and was so excited to play with his new robot when he woke up. Thank you for making his day, and his hospital stay much better!"
"Thank you so much for your donation, my son lit up when he saw the nurse walk in the room with this block set."
"Thank you. My son received a lego set during a pretty traumatic ER visit. It was a great distraction for him and much appreciated."
"Thank you so much for the building blocks donation to the Pediatric Unit at Easton Hospital. The children who have received them and our staff greatly appreciate them."
"Thank you for the donations. It really cheered her up having something to do."
"Thank you so much for your donation. You made my little boy very happy during a difficult time."
We our proud serve our youngest heroes at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.
This program is made possible in part by a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which is dedicated to ensuring that impacted post-9/11 service members veterans, and their families make a successful transition.