project Believe began on the P2N Unit of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, College Hill Campus in 2007, where my daughter Mary was a resident at the time. The mission was to make sure every child on her unit received a few Christmas presents of their own. It was a last minute effort and the unwrapped items were given in gift bags to each child by Santa. I made a promise to myself that year that these kids would never again be overlooked at Christmas. The following year, we bought the gifts in advance and thought it would be so much more fun if the kids could unwrap all of their packages. Thus began the annual Wrap Party. A handful of friends gathered and made sure all of the items were wrapped before they were placed in the gift bags and delivered to the hospital.
In 2009, when I wasn’t sure I could financially purchase all of the gifts myself, I put a plea out to my family and friends for help. Help came in droves and not only were we able to continue to provide Christmas to all of the kids on the P2N Unit, but were also able to give every child at the College Hill Campus brand new Old Navy socks and pajamas. This is a residential psychiatric hospital where the kids live and go to school for months at a time. They can wear whatever they want, but often times are seen in hospital issued scrubs or gowns in the evenings before bedtime. At the very least, I believe every child should have their own warm, comfortable pajamas. With a lot of help, we made that happen.
People began asking the name of my charity and I didn’t have one. I was only fulfilling the promise I had made the year before. After some thought, project Believe was born.