All Kids Can isn’t just the title of our signature philanthropic program; it is the belief at the very core of our mission to help children be the best that they can be. The goals of All Kids Can are: to support children with disabilities by raising awareness in schools and in local communities about the importance of inclusion; creating greater opportunities for physical activity and play; and providing access to medical rehabilitation and related services.
We know that all kids can do just about anything and in 2011 we were there to support them on their journey. A program of CVS Caremark and the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, All Kids Can specifically helps community-based programs that focus on promoting inclusion and helping children with disabilities learn, play and succeed. An analysis of the program’s direct and indirect impact showed that an estimated six and a half million people benefitted from the full reach of All Kids Can in 2011.
For example, we partnered with the Boston Red Sox on the All Kids Can Batting Camps program for New England children with disabilities. The program provides the opportunity for Challenger League, Miracle League and inclusive teams to spend a day at Fenway Park, receive on-field batting practice, have lunch in the Red Sox dugout, meet Wally the mascot, receive a VIP tour and attend the evening game. In 2011, we held our first ever baseball camp for disabled veterans, creating a similar adult batting program and experience.
Similarly, we partnered with the New England Patriots for the fourth year on the CVS Caremark All Kids Can Patriots Day. This year, we paired former New England Patriots players with youths from Easter Seals Massachusetts and other community organizations for a skills camp held at Gillette Stadium. Participants ranged in age from five to 21 years and came from across Massachusetts and Rhode Island to participate in warm-up and stretching exercises with the Patriots alumni, experience cone-running drills and receive instruction on how to block, kick and throw.
In the area of medical rehabilitation and related services CVS Caremark donated $25,000 to Children’s Hospital Boston through the Red Sox “Saves” and “Extra Inning” charitable initiatives, celebrating a $1 million milestone. Over the last five years, funds donated derive from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and the CVS Caremark All Kids Can Program and support the Hospital’s Cerebral Palsy Program and its Center for Communication Enhancement.
Specifically, our support enhanced the functional mobility initiative – a unique multidisciplinary area of service recognized nationally and internationally for assisting children with cerebral palsy and other related neuromuscular disorders and intellectual disabilities that often accompany cerebral palsy. Funds earmarked for the Hospital’s Center for Communication Enhancement targeted the development of electronic learning tools for children with complex communication needs, especially those with autism and cerebral palsy, who have a relatively short opportunity to maximize learning.
To celebrate our partnership, each year a hospital patient from one of the programs we fund is invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. The child is also invited to join CVS Caremark leaders, as well as doctors from the hospital, on the field for a pre-game check presentation ceremony.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia also benefitted from our support receiving $105,000 for robotic rehabilitation equipment, which included: a motor-assisted lower extremity device designed to assist patients with weakness and improve their ability to walk; and an upper extremity device that uses robotic-driven computer simulation to facilitate motor movements, helping patients regain functional skills.
In addition to our on-the-ground support of numerous nonprofit organizations, our online presence served as a virtual community for many of those we have helped. On Facebook, for example, we more than tripled the All Kids Can page’s fan base. Further underscoring that sense of community online, 2011 saw the launch of the program’s blog as well. The All Kids Can blog continues to provide a trusted place where experts, parents, caregivers and members of the community share ideas and support.