Greentrike Cares is a program that has grown from a partnership with Mary Bridge and Mary Bridge Brigade that offers children, staff, and families easy accessibility to thoughtfully prepared, play-based activities. Knowing many children and families receiving treatment are focused on their journey to health, Greentrike Cares offers a resource solely centered on infusing fun and joy into their experience, helping them to process the big emotions that go along with their health issues and treatment.
This program expanded in May 2020, with the support from our community, to serve children at Tacoma Rescue Mission (TRM) and the YWCA Women’s Support Shelter (YWCA) in addition to children in care at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. Since COVID-19 precautions have eliminated group programs for children at Mary Bridge, the demand for Cares activity kits has significantly increased, from 50 to 250 per month.
Greentrike Cares kits have been used at Mary Bridge for years to help children process the unique stress and fear that can accompany hospitalization and extended care for medical conditions or special needs. For example, superhero kits engage children in considering
what it means to be brave as they create masks and capes. This can help surface their worries and concerns, by exploring big feelings through creative, visual, and verbal methods.
Children in similarly challenging circumstances benefit greatly from Greentrike Cares kits. While in transitional housing or a domestic violence shelter, children are without the security of familiar surroundings and people. As group programs are suspended due to COVID-19, children have lost access to the buffering effects of play-based interactions with peers, a typical way children process and mitigate stress. All children are sensitive to the stress mandated precautions are creating for families, and this is further intensified for those in extremely disruptive situations.
Play is widely recognized as a remedy for helping children deal with toxic stress, and as a tool for strengthening attachment between children and their adults. Engaging in play-based activities with their children can help adults relieve stress, experience joy, and better understand their child’s worry and fears. It can also strengthen the bond between adult and child, building resilience in the relationship and fostering the social emotional competence of children, important Protective Factors against child abuse and neglect.
These times are challenging for us all, especially for children who may have very little understanding of and control over their circumstances. Greentrike Cares kits offer children vital tools to direct their own experience, express their stress and fears, and strengthen their connection with a caring adult. Facing current challenges, families desperately need strategies to promote their mental health and strong relationships. Greentrike Cares kits do just that.
A special thanks to our partner organizations:
Amara, A Step Ahead Pierce County, Children’s Home Society, Franklin Pierce Schools, Hopesparks, JBLM Santa’s Castle, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Multicultural Child and Family Hope Center, YWCA Women’s Shelter, Tacoma Public Schools, Tacoma Rescue Mission, Tacoma Housing Authority.
Greentrike Cares Kits are made possible thanks to our generous funders.
With support from Greater Tacoma Community Foundation.
Additional program sponsors include Humanities Washington, Rotary Club of Tacoma #8, Tacoma Arts Commission, and Wells Fargo Foundation.