On July 12, Boredom Busters hosted its fifth annual Fun-Raising Fund-Raiser—an incredible night filled with smooth dance moves, yummy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, exciting silent auction items and a wacky photo booth—which resulted in $12,000 to benefit the Boredom Busters programs at Boston Medical Center.
“The goal of our first Fun-Raising Fund-Raiser five years ago was to channel the energy and potential of a fun night for our friends into a donation for BMC. Back then, we had no idea how well received and impactful our modest donation would be. Every year the event gets bigger and better–which naturally translates into a bigger and better impact on the lives of pediatric patients at BMC,” report Dave Krauss and Charlie Benzyk, co-founders of Boredom Busters.
This all-volunteer nonprofit was established 10 years ago at Duke University in memory of Sasha Burakow, a freshman who passed away suddenly from a brain injury. Sasha was widely admired, not only for her athletic and scholastic achievements, but also for her big heart and altruistic spirit. To honor her memory, Sasha’s friends created and brought “Boredom Busters”—an effort to fill shoeboxes with toys and decks of cards to provide entertainment and distraction for children during lengthy hospital stays—to Duke’s pediatric brain tumor center.
Krauss and Benzyk, close friends of Sasha’s, were so inspired by this idea that they vowed to expand the program. In January 2010, they approached BMC about starting a branch at the hospital. Since then, through a combination of fundraising events and corporate partnerships, Boredom Busters has generated thousands of dollars for programs and capital projects. A recent major undertaking was the Children’s Book Mural Project in the Pediatric Emergency Department. MassART students volunteered to paint large murals depicting scenes from iconic children’s books in each examination room within the department, and Boredom Busters then donated copies of the represented books to the waiting rooms. It is a vibrant, joyous transformation which has delighted both patients and staff alike.
“From our long-running Crayons and Bubbles Programs, which provides access to boredom busting items for every patient, to our recently completed $10,000 Technology Modernization Project, the impact of our efforts—and our ambition to do more—has grown exponentially over these five short years,” explain Krauss and Benzyk.
Stephanie Sharp, a Child Life Specialist who works closely with Boredom Busters, believes the program has been wildly successful in allowing her team to better care for their littlest patients. She also says staff feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and the team is grateful for Boredom Busters leadership and dedication. For instance, this past winter, when the Child Life Specialists ran out of money on Christmas Eve to purchase gifts for pediatric patients, Krauss and Benzyk immediately drove to Boston from Connecticut to accompany the group on a shopping spree, ensuring no child was left without a present the next morning.
“It is so amazing that Dave and Charlie started this as college students, and have grown it to what it is now, all on a volunteer basis. They have made such an incredible impact on our kids, especially those coming from more difficult, lower income backgrounds. This program allows us to do our jobs even better,” concludes Sharp.
To learn more about Boredom Busters, including how to get involved, please contact Cristen DeCourcey at Cristen.DeCourcey@bmc.org or 617-638-6722.
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