Gifts of Giving
The holidays can be a tough time for children and their families who will be spending most of their time in treatment. As the season of giving approaches, we ask you to consider giving a gift of therapeutic comfort and play. Our Smilezones offer a range of fun, comforting and therapeutic elements that a child of any ability and with any interest can enjoy. This season, you choose how to help Smilezone kids in a way that connects with you!

You can help make tough days a little brighter for kids facing health challenges by donating to any of the five categories below, including an array of much-needed items for upcoming Smilezone installations in hospitals & healthcare centres. Click on the category images to learn more about how your gift will benefit kids and families in Smilezones across the province!

Sensory play is important in child development, helping to stimulate a child’s senses and allow them to safely explore and learn more about their environment. We use our five senses to learn and explore, develop language, build social skills, exercise problem solving, encourage creative thinking, and to increase memory. Sensory play is also a great way to distract and soothe children during their hospital stays and treatments, by positively redirecting their anxieties and energy towards something fun.
Research shows that art and music help the healing process for people of all ages and abilities. The murals we include in all Smilezones help to create a fun and comforting environment for the children during what can be a frightening time. We also include magnetic white boards, musical instruments, bluetooth speakers, and more in our Smilezones to provide children with opportunities to express their feelings and explore their creativity through art and music.
Having comforts of home can make spending time in a hospital or treatment centre a little easier for children and their families. Simple comforts such as having a place to prepare and store home cooked meals, or a warm chair to rock children to sleep can make a world of difference. Because of your generosity, a Smilezone will make a sterile healthcare environment feel more like home to children and families, not only during the holidays but year-round.
Physical therapy is used to help kids build and maintain muscle strength, increase coordination, encourage healing and reduce inflammation and pain. We incorporate many items in Smilezone physiotherapy spaces, so that children and physiotherapists have the things they need to work hard together in a fun and engaging way. Crash mats and yoga mats, walking trail sets, mood light spheres, and privacy screens allow children of all abilities to build and heal their muscles in fun and safe ways.
While we celebrated throughout these events, Smilezone partner Hospitals and Health Care Centres from across Ontario joined us by spreading their own smiles! Staff and clients dressed in their most creative purple and yellow attire and posted the fun photos on social media for everyone to enjoy! A big thank you to everyone who made this World Smile Day special!
Ask An Expert: Joan Waechter

This month we interviewed Joan Waechter! Joan recently joined our Board of Directors as a Board Member, and incredibly funded the Smilezone project at Headwaters Health Care Center in Orangeville, ON. Joan has already done so much for Smilezone, and we are thrilled to have her as part of the team!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

 I am retired from our family business, Ideal Supply, after 34 years. I held the position of VP of Human resources for 25 of that. I live in Primrose, Ontario with my husband Paul and our labradoodle Miss Ellie. I am very involved in our local hospital; Headwaters Healthcare Centre and have sat on their Foundation Board for over 12 years. Holding the Chair position for 3 years and thru a Capital Campaign raising 16 million dollars.

I am also an avid golfer and belong to Devils Pulpit in Caledon.

What made you want to get involved with Smilezone Foundation?

I was introduced to Smilezone when the 1 st project was done about 5 years ago at Headwaters. I really liked the concept and after meeting Scott and Adam I knew it something that I wanted to somehow be involved with. So, we started the conversation about Paul and I sponsoring a 2 nd project at headwaters of which we did in 2018.  

Have you encountered any special moments through your involvement with Smilezone?

It was such a highlight for me to be able to be at the hospital while the Smilezone team was working their magic on the transformation weekend. The nurses and staff were so excited, and it really gave a wonderful boost to the whole pediatric ward. Anything to put a smile on those kids faces.

Having experience working in healthcare - have you noticed a direct impact on the children and their families since incorporating the Smilezones earlier this year at Markham-Stouffville Hospital?

  I haven’t had a lot of experience working directly in pediatric Healthcare, but I can tell you that watching the families and their kids walk around the halls and looking at all the wonderful animals and beautiful murals - it really is heartwarming. It is such a bright and sunny area, and that definitely helps with whatever the unfortunate circumstance the child and family is facing.

What would you say to someone considering giving to Smilezone?

 To consider giving to Smilezone is like considering giving to whatever happiness it brings to those families and children that are at hospitals, grieving centers or wherever the need is. It is just such a wonderful organization and I am so very proud to be involved.

Alexandra Marine and General Hospital Grand Opening
On Thursday, December 12th we had the chance to celebrate retired NHL player Paul Henderson and his contribution to EIGHT brand new Smilezone spaces at the Alexandra Marine and General Hospital in Goderich, ON. The event was held at the Goderich-Huron YMCA, where we were joined by special guests and speakers such as: Hockey Night in Canada Host Ron MacLean, Goderich Mayor John Grace, as well as representatives from Alexandra Marine and General Hospital.

For more information on this project, click here
Smilezone Transforms
Cambridge Memorial Hospital

Cambridge Memorial Hospital

Over the weekend of December 5th to 7th we transformed 8 new Smilezone spaces to help the young children and families who access services from Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
The Rapid Sub-Acute Treatment Room and Acute Treatment Room within the Emergency Department, Paediatrics Playroom, Paediatrics Hallway, Youth Waiting Room, Paediatrics Treatment Room, Day Surgery Prep and Recovery Room and Paediatrics Resuscitation Room were the focus of this Smilezone project. 

To make these high-traffic Smilezones comforting, fun and inclusive we added:

  • Interactive GestureTek gaming system
  • Universal charging station
  • Bean bag chairs
  • Custom bookcase
  • Touch-activated play table
  •  kids table and chairs
  • Nature, graffiti, hockey and geometric themed murals
  • Xbox gaming system
  • Mobile iPad stands with lockable wheels
  • sound proof ceiling

Smilezone Highlights
Check out our November newsletter for more

Upcoming Smilezones!
This month we will be creating Smilezones at Milton District Hospital and Five Counties Children's Centre in Cobourg, ON.

Check out all of the details in our January Newsletter.
Giving Tuesday
This year for Giving Tuesday Smilezone raised $2,294.50 towards Sensory Play!

We want to thank everyone who donated, and give a special shout out to Canada Helps for donating an extra $5 for every $25+ donation we received!

Happy Holidays!
The Smilezone Foundation would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season, filled with lots of smiles!!

Contact Us

Smilezone Foundation
557 Chartwell Road
Oakville, Ontario
L6J 4A8