‘I never would have thought that my love for design could make a child at a hospital happy.’
Aliza Zilberberg, Cedarhurst
“I was following a girl on Instagram. Her mother was posting her journey of fighting leukemia. The girl got better, but one of the hardest parts about the girl’s journey was that the hospital room was boring and didn’t feel like home for her. I thought maybe there’s a way that I could take the thing that I love, which is art, and use it for something medical-related and help kids feel better while they’re fighting illness. My high school really helped me with pushing the Jewish concept ofchesed, giving.
“In 11th grade, I got COVID and was really bored. I opened a GoFundMe and started using the funds to buy room decor on Amazon, and I made kits. Each kit has a specific theme: unicorns, dinosaurs, galaxy and color themes for the older kids. Each bag has a blanket, stuffed animal and something to hang on the walls, like stars. We’ve sent three shipments to Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital, which was over 330 bags for all the kids in the hospital. It was really cool to see everything actually work and to hear the stories the head of the Child Life Department told me of how the kids reacted to the items. I really liked hearing that.
Anything you’re good at can be impactful if you’re passionate about it.
“For the younger kids, it was more to make the rooms a little bit less scary because the equipment is probably so terrifying. But for the older kids, it was more about the element of choice because everything’s out of their hands. These are kids staying in the hospital long term. I came up with the name ‘Make It Home’ as a cute double meaning because I wanted it to be, they’re able to make their hospital room home. But I also want them to make it home and get back to where they are.
“Just being able to pick which sort of package they want helps them to have a choice. Each shipment costs about $2,000, and each individual package costs about $20. I’ve gotten sponsors and donations.
“It’s so special to be able to help these kids, and it’s just amazing to hear the stories and to be able to feel like you’re making a difference. I never would have thought that my love for design could make a child at a hospital happy. Anything you’re good at can be impactful if you’re passionate about it.”
Interviewed by Liza Burby