© 2019 The Garrett B. Smith Foundation created with Wix.com

The Garrett B. Smith Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) public charity, Tax I.D. 06-6411358.

Email Us at info@garrettsmithfdn.org.

The Garrett B. Smith Foundation attracted the Clown Program to Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital over 20 years ago.  It is currently managed by Healthy Humor and its complete funding is the Foundation's largest annual commitment.

What is a smile on a child's face worth, especially if that child is ill and in the hospital? Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital (YNHCH) knows how hard it is for children and their families to deal with an illness and hospitalization. That's why, in 1997, Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital was proud to become the first hospital in Connecticut to present the Big Apple Circus Clown Care program.

 

Special kind of medicine

Three days a week, a team of two professionally-trained clowns come to Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital and offer their own special type of medicine to the children, their families and the staff. The "Doctors of Humor, Laughter and Hilarity" as the clowns call themselves.

Humor offers a way for children to cope with the intrusive atmosphere of a hospital. As one clown said, "We don't do this because we get paid. It comes from inside of us. You see the corner of a child's mouth turn up and that's it. That's why we're here."

 

Roots in the Big Apple Circus

The Clown Care program began as a community outreach program of the Big Apple Circus, whose co-founder established the clown program in 1986 in New York after losing a brother to cancer. The program at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital was managed by the Big Apple Circus for more than 20 years. Currently the program is managed by Healthy Humor. Healthy Humor has programs in 7 children's hospitals across the country with more than 50 clowns making children and families smile.

Clown of the Year Award

Better known to sick kids and employees around YNHCH as "Dr. Chester Drawers," Leo Desilets was honored in 2005 with the first Clown of the Year award from the Annual Professional Development Conference of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care program.

 

Desilets was chosen for the award over 92 other professional entertainers who worked for the Clown Care program in 16 hospitals nationally. He was presented with a golden "Leonard" award - a rubber chicken similar in design to an Oscar.

 

The Healthy Humor Red Nose Docs Clown Program at Yale-New Haven's Children's Hospital

Clown Guidelines:  

The clowns never enter a room without permission, and know it's important to know when not to be funny. They follow all hospital policies and procedures strictly and work with staff, parents and procedures.

 

 

The GBS Foundation was featured in the Spring 2010 issue of Impact, Yale-New Haven Hospital's quarterly magazine.
Click here to read the article.

Photos Courtesy of Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit and Yale New Haven's Childrens Hospital.

Photos Courtesy of Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit and Yale New Haven's Childrens Hospital.

Logo Designed by KEMorganbesser