Creativity Kits for Kids was an initiative through the Greenville County Medical
Society Alliance (GCMSA) aimed to support children experiencing anxiety by providing them a portable kit of tools and activities that promote creativity and calming. The assembled kits were distributed to organizations in Greenville County that serve at-risk children or children who would not otherwise have access to calming tools of their own.
It has long been known that children across all demographics experience anxiety for a variety of reasons. Recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed that, much like the virus, anxiety does not discriminate across racial or socioeconomic lines. It is random in onset and unpredictable in the way it presents. However, having a creative outlet can be calming in people of all ages. When given easy-to-use tools and minimal guidance, they can momentarily escape their pressing worries, boost their confidence, and express their emotions safely. Their artwork and creative expressions are a useful starting point for caregivers and therapists to understand a child’s concerns and struggles to have meaningful conversations.
The intent of this project was to raise awareness about the rise of childhood anxiety in our community and inform others of a solution. The goal of 2021-22 President Shanna Walker was that the recipients of the Creativity Kits experience a reduction in their levels of anxiety, an increase in self-confidence, and assurance that there are people in the community who care deeply about their well-being.
Phase I of this project, led by GCMSA member Laurie McCotter, partnered GCMSA with A Child’s Haven (ACH), a local program treating children with developmental delays as a result of limited resources, abuse, or neglect. ACH therapists assisted GCMSA members in developing activity cards and supply lists for each kit aimed to serve children ages two (2) through eight (8). GCMSA secured the funds through private donations and an Alliance Health Education Initiative (AHEI) grant from the American Medical Association Alliance to pack and deliver 135 kits to ACH in the fall of 2021.
Phase II of this project occurred in the spring of 2022 when the National Arts Honor Society (NAHS) of Riverside High School (RHS), led by GCMSA Liaison and RHS Junior Carolina Dille, partnered with GCMSA during the RHS Student Council Wellness Week. RHS NAHS raised nearly $900 in cash and item donations for the program. With this and additional matching funds from the Alliance, 85 kits were assembled and delivered with much appreciation to The Meyer Center, Serenity Place, and Pendleton Place Children’s Shelter.
GCMSA was honored to receive the 2022 South Carolina Medical Association Alliance Health Awareness Promotion (HAP) Award for Health Education and Community Service for this project.
The GCMSA retired their efforts with this program at the end of their fiscal year in May of 2022. However, they have granted permission to Carolina Dille to continue using their plans, supply lists and activity cards to further the efforts of this cause in Greenville County. If you have any interest in bringing this program to your school, program, or community, feel free to contact us and we will connect you.