April 6, 2020
In The Midst of the Chaos of COVID-19, Critically ILL Children and Their Families Find Peace and Heartwarming Kindness at the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins
Baltimore, Md. At a time when the fear of the unknown is gripping the nation, a steady stream of loving support is flowing through the city of Baltimore, and making its way to children and families staying at the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins. Families who were former guests, along with faithful volunteers and complete strangers, have joined local businesses and a national corporation to come to the aid of this quiet residential building located just steps from the front door of the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins is a non-profit residential housing facility that accommodates many of the sickest children being treated at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Families travel to the Children’s House from throughout the United States and the world, seeking treatments that are often unavailable elsewhere. The Children’s House offers the many oncology, cardiology, transplant and immune suppressed pediatric patients, a home like environment where they are encouraged to relax during what is often one of the most stressful experiences a family will ever face. When the slow burning panic of the coronavirus pandemic approached the United States several weeks ago, a number of stringent policies were put into place to protect the families who reside there. A vibrant facility that overflowed with volunteers, massage therapists and therapy dogs each day, the Children’s House was suddenly placed on a protective lockdown that barred all volunteers and outside visitors. The often joyful nightly dinners and leisurely morning breakfasts that were prepared by volunteer groups suddenly stopped. Even the mailman is now met at the front door and not allowed to enter the building.
Preparing the Children’s House to transition to the new mandates of human distancing has required a night and day effort by Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation staff. As word spread of the urgent need to supply the Children’s House for a lengthy isolation, an outpouring of volunteer support quickly reinforced the effort. The Home Depot Corporation, a long time charitable partner of Believe In Tomorrow, has called each week to ask what is needed to protect the families and prepare the facility for the inevitable surge of COVID-19. They delivered cleaning products and disinfectants, a large freezer and a number of refrigerators, and amazingly even found and delivered a supply of N-95 masks for Children’s House families when they were unavailable virtually everywhere in the country. Former Believe In Tomorrow families have been donating items through an Amazon wish list, as have volunteers and community groups. A number of incredible individuals have been sponsoring dinners from local restaurants that are being delivered to the house. But much more is still needed to meet the demands of the next several months.
There is a spirit of resiliency and compassion in Baltimore that is rising above the steady stream of bad news the city has endured for years. Sometimes the human spirit shines brightest during the darkest of days. This pandemic has strained every resource in the country, and stressed every fiber of our daily lives. But in the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House a calm peacefulness exists, thanks to the generosity that is alive and well in the diverse richness of the American character. Children are playing, parents are quietly waiting, and the early flowers of Spring are emerging in the small outdoor courtyard. There are signs of hope within the flood of chaos and confusion that have washed over us so suddenly. Hope that is offered by an outstretched hand is powerful medicine for the families who live at the Children’s House, and for the heart and soul of communities everywhere.
The largest Children’s House fund raiser of the year, the annual Port To Fort 6k which runs through historic Fort McHenry, the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, has been cancelled as an in-person event, and will be turned into the Don’t Stop Believein’ Virtual Race this year. It is scheduled for April the 19th and runners and walkers are encouraged to participate. Everyone is guaranteed a t-shirt and the good feeling of making a positive difference in this world we live in. Click here to register for the Virtual Port To Fort 6K.
April 1, 2020
The health and safety of our Believe In Tomorrow families are always our topmost priority. As COVID-19 strains the resources of the entire country, I want you to know that we are taking extraordinary measures to keep the children and families that we serve safe.
Throughout these most challenging times, the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation continues to provide critically ill children and their families with supportive and welcoming programs that help to ease the anxiety of both the medical treatments they are facing, and the stress of adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins, we are working tirelessly to provide warm meals and the cleanest environment possible, where families can be together and relax in a home like setting during their child’s treatment at the world renowned Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
We have taken a number of measures that have dramatically changed our services. Until further notice the following changes are in effect:
*We have suspended all volunteer services at the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins, and visitors are not allowed to enter the building.
*All families and staff entering the Children’s House are subject to health screenings and mandatory thermal temperature readings.
*We have temporarily suspended all respite housing services. We are working hard to adjust our respite housing facilities to accommodate safe distancing and disinfecting procedures as soon as we are permitted to safely re-open for families.
*We have cancelled the live gathering portion of our largest Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins fund raising event, our annual Port To Fort 6k, and we are turning this event into a Virtual Race. We are determined to make this a fun and rewarding virtual event for all participants.
*We have cancelled our largest Beach Respite fund raiser, the Annual Gala By The Sea which was scheduled for March 28th. We are planning however to host a virtual auction and raffle in its place. Please stay tuned for details.
Here are ways that you can make an immediate difference in the lives of the children and families that we serve:
Click here to Make a Donation.
Participate In Our Virtual Port To Fort 6K Run/Walk. Click here to register. All participants get a great t-shirt and it will be a fun event.
Click here to go to our Amazon Wish List to donate directly to our pediatric hospitals and respite housing programs.
COVID-19 Updates for March 18, 2020
Dear Believe In Tomorrow Families, Volunteers and Friends,
The next several weeks, and perhaps even months ahead, will certainly be a major challenge for all of us. With the rapidly evolving effect that COVID-19 is having in the world we live in, it is understandable that there may be serious concerns about traveling to a Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation Pediatric Hospital or Respite House facility. I want to provide you with some of the most recent steps that we have taken. In our effort to do everything we can to make a positive difference throughout this pandemic, I am asking for your help and cooperation in regards to the precautions we are implementing at the Children’s House at Johns Hopkins and all of our residential housing programs. Thank you so much for your help. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
Our Top Priority at this Point in Time
Our highest priority is to the immediate safety and well-being of the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins (TCHJH) families that we serve, our many volunteers, and our TCHJH staff. We are in close communication with medical professionals at Johns Hopkins, and we are receiving regular updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and State of Maryland government agencies, in order to stay on top of this rapidly changing situation. Current reports suggest that the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is moderate to high, and for that reason we have taken a number of extra precautions that pertain to the Children’s House at Johns Hopkins.
- At this point in time, March 18, 2020, we are not accepting any referrals except those that are deemed most urgent based on medical condition of the patient.
- TCHJH is limiting the number of families that can stay within the Children’s House. Self-referrals are no longer accepted from families who have stayed there before.
- TCHJH staff may at their discretion ask any family member to participate in a thermal body temperature scan of their forehead, and/or require guests to participant in a health screening survey.
- Visitors are no longer allowed within the TCHJHuntil further notice, unless authorized by a TCHJH senior staff member.
- We will be severely limiting the number of volunteers to those that are either providing front desk services, essential support services, or helping to clean and provide maintenance to the facilities.
- All volunteers are subject to regular health screening questions and body temperature scans.
- Our daily volunteer organized dinners and brunches have been discontinued until further notice.
- We have arranged regular deliveries of food to TCHJH from local area restaurants and from a major food distributor. We are looking for additional dinner sponsors.
- No delivery person is allowed inside of TCHJH. They must be met at the front door unless an exception is made by TCHJH staff.
- Any TCHJH or Believe In Tomorrow family member with flu like symptoms is being asked to immediately report themselves to their health care provider and to immediately notify TCHJH or Believe In Tomorrow staff. ***These symptoms include but are not limited to: fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Believe In Tomorrow staff will assist with making calls to JHH to arrange for a COVID-19 evaluation if deemed necessary.
- We have hired additional housekeeping staff that are using enhanced cleaning methods and protocols and are using anti-viral and anti-bacterial products throughout TCHJH. We are cleaning all doorknobs, railings, countertops and frequently touched surfaces multiple times throughout the day. *All Believe In Tomorrow Pediatric Respite facilities are also being treated with enhanced cleaning methods and products.
- We are asking everyone within our Hospital and Respite Housing facilities to follow safe personal hygiene protocols at all times. Please wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Personal hand sanitizers are available from Believe In Tomorrow staff. One dispenser of Clorox or similar disinfecting wipes will be provided to each room. Please cover all coughs and sneezes and dispose of any Kleenex like products immediately. Avoid touching your face and practice safe social distancing of approximately 6 feet as recommended by the CDC. Handshakes and hugging are strongly discouraged at this time.
- ***All Believe In Tomorrow Respite facilities have been temporarily closed and will re-open when it is deemed safe to do so.
It is everyone’s responsibility to keep our Children’s House at Johns Hopkins and our pediatric respite facilities as safe and as clean as possible. You have my word that we will work as hard as we can to accomplish these goals. Please do not hesitate to share with staff any suggestions or concerns that you might have.
Thank you. Together we will continue to provide a comfortable, warm, and welcoming environment to the many children and families that we serve.
Founder, President and CEO